Ryan Gander’s complex and unfettered conceptual practice is stimulated by queries, investigations or what-ifs, rather than strict rules or limits. For example, what if a child’s den of sheets were remade in memorialising marble (Tell My Mother not to Worry (ii), 2012)? 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 – perhaps by refilming the same ten-second clip 50 times over, as in Man on a Bridge (A study of David Lange), 2008. Language and storytelling play an overarching role in his work, not least in his series of Loose Association lectures or in his attempt to slip a nonsensical, palindromic new word, ‘mitim’, into the English language. 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. Invitation and collaboration are also at the heart of Gander’s fugitive art – whether he’s exchanging fictionalised newspaper obituaries with an artist-friend or taking pictures of people looking at pictures at an art fair – although arguably every solipsistic action he takes merely holds up yet another mirror to his ceaselessly voracious mind.
Ryan Gander, born in Chester in 1976, lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include FRAC Île-de-France / Le Plateau (2013); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2012); Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich (2010); Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2008); the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2007 & 2003); MUMOK, Vienna (2007) and the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2007). He has also shown in group exhibitions such as the Shanghai Biennale (2012); documenta 13, Kassel (2012); ILLUMInations, 54th Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2011); 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2008) and the Sydney Biennial (2008). Ryan Gander has been awarded numerous prestigious prizes, among others the Zürich Art Prize (2009), the ABN Amro Art Price (2006), the Baloise Art Statements of the Art Basel (2006) and the Dutch Prix de Rome for sculpture (2003).