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Introduction

Born in 1976, Ryan Gander is one of the most productive artists in the UK and his practice covers a wide range of media including installation, sculpture, photography and publications. His ingenious use of materials and penetrating creativity have earned him wide attention from the global art scene. His recent solo exhibitions include Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (Melbourne, Australia), Solomon R Guggenheim Museum (New York, USA), Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, UK), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and the major international touring exhibition Make every show like it’s your last. He has also shown in group exhibitions such as the Shanghai Biennale, Documenta, the Venice Biennale and the Sydney Biennial.

 

Ryan Gander’s complex and unfettered conceptual practice is stimulated by queries, investigations and what-ifs, rather than strict rules or limits. For example, what if children were asked to reassemble the wood pieces originally constructed as Crate Furniture designed by Gerrit Rieveld (Rietveld Reconstruction, 2006)? What if all the pieces in a chess set were remade in Zebra Wood, so that neither side was entirely black nor white (Bauhaus Revisited, 2003)?

 

Gander is a cultural magpie in the widest sense, polymathically taking popular notions apart only to rebuild them in new ways. Language and storytelling play an overarching role in his work, not least in his attempt to slip a nonsensical, palindromic new word “mitim” into the English language. He is a keen observer of human beings and their life, which makes him a “story-teller”, his works, vehicles of these stories, and his audience, the readers of the stories. According to the artist, good art allows audience to enter it from different angles and in different manners. Occasionally his ludic concepts drift into more bodily, relational challenges, especially in This Consequence of 2006, that involved the unsettling presence of a gallery owner or invigilator dressed in an all-white Adidas tracksuit, with an additional sinister red stain embroidered into the fabric.


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