Ryan Gander: You Walk into a Space, Any Space
London, 5 May – 5 June 2010
For his first solo exhibition at the Lisson Gallery, Ryan Gander has created a body of work which takes the viewer on a pin-ball like journey through an idiosyncratic history of art, film and media. Whether you enter the living room of Ernö Goldfinger, stumble upon Degas' Dancer, narrowly miss a shower of arrows piercing the gallery floor, or attempt to flee via an escape hatch in the ceiling, each work leads you into a different perceptual space.
Gander's intention to disrupt the perceived limits of the gallery is made apparent with his large-scale installation I taught myself how to grow, 2010 on the glass façade of the gallery. The image looks like advertising for tanning salons: a silhouetted woman stands under a palm tree, turning towards the sun. The image is a cliché of a holiday paradise but here created using thousands of highly coloured children's stickers. Hanging in the gallery window is a defunct neon sign that reads 'm ssage' in reference to the 1967 book The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore. Gander suggests that either a massage or message awaits the viewer upon entering the exhibition, and simultaneously transforms the implied function of the gallery, from a staged to an un-staged space.
Gander sometimes refers to his practice as the 'incomplete history of ideas' and deliberately never makes the same work twice. However, the works in the exhibition highlight recurrent themes, such as the reinterpretation of iconic figures in art, design, and music. Gander has been working with Degas' Dancer for the last two years, allowing her to step down from her pedestal, take off her tutu and explore the exhibition space she occupies. With each work, a new frame in a narrative sequence is proposed. She is presented within reach of her pedestal but her actions set up a confrontation between herself and her position in art history: the pedestal representing the constraints of classical sculpture. In this new work, You Walk into a Space, Any Space, or Poor Little Girl Beaten by the Game, 2010, she is seen attempting to hold elementary two-dimensional Bauhaus shapes; a triangle, a circle and a square, which have metamorphosed into three dimensional physical objects; a pyramid, sphere and cube. The floor is scattered with multiples of these objects as if she is either trying to hold them all, or steal a few. Gander places her in a situation where she is attempting to make a transition from the modern to the contemporary.
Works on view
52 Bell Street
Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday: 11:00am – 5:00pm