Princeton's Lewis Center for the Arts opens virtual exhibition by Ryan Gander
2 February 2021
“I’ve become a little obsessed with the idea that the world can be divided into ‘those things that naturally convey meaning’ and ‘those things that are made to convey meaning’. I guess that is what Maurice Merleau-Ponty meant by ‘primary and secondary modes of expression’. Almost all art— perhaps with the exception of outsider art—is made of Conventional signs, not Natural ones. For me, the phenomenon of finding Natural signs outside the safety of a gallery by happenstance - like a discarded bus ticket, a waning moon, footprints in the snow - is often a more memorable and significant experience than those I am fed and manipulated by, which we might find charged by the white spaces of the institutions of art. As we navigate the world we miss so much, there are endless flashes of magnificent provocations, but we have to look…” – Ryan Gander
From 5–26 February, Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts will show 'Natural and Conventional Signs', a virtual exhibition by Ryan Gander. The exhibition presents a selection of new works directly guided by the research undertaken by Gander during his time as a Hodder Fellow at Princeton (2019-2020), and made during a period of reflection whilst the world paused amid a global pandemic. Inviting an audience into his studio-cum-gallery for the first time, both physically and digitally, Gander assembles a show where the works have duality in meaning and utility; subverting the signs, tropes, and markers we see in our everyday world to shine new light on how we position ourselves in relation to the values of time, money, opportunity, attention and privilege.
Among the new works on show, A machine to send you somewhere else (2020) takes the form of a motion-activated ticket machine, re-programmed to print unique, computer-generated GPS coordinates taking you to a randomly selected land-based location, while strewn across the floor are what look to be illegible political campaign or protest leaflets in Relationships that are already warm, relationships that are already worn (2021).
A video tour of the exhibition is available on-demand from 5 February. On February 9 at 12pm EST, Gander will present a live guided tour of the exhibition and engage in a conversation with Princeton Program in Visual Arts faculty member David Reinfurt via Zoom. The exhibition video and live tour/conversation events are free and open to the public at arts.princeton.edu/gander.