Ryan Gander: Agent of Redistribution

Agent of Redistribution, 2018
Holographic projection

Ryan Gander’s varied artistic production ranges from sculpture, film, writing, graphic design, installation, and performance have established him as an internationally recognized artist. With the basis of questioning language and knowledge, Gander likes to propose works that are reminiscent of a puzzle so one can create connections between the everyday and the cryptic. This is particular noticeable in Adrastus Collection’s recent acquisition, Agent of Redistribution (2018), as Gander lures the spectator into the dangling holographic image of a suitcase. As one might expect to see in a virtual game, this virtual asset in a real landscape, a holographic projection of a small plastic waterproof suitcase seeming to hover in mid-air, in front of which is the videogame commands the viewer to ‘pick up’ the object. The commonplace object of a suitcase can be overlooked; nevertheless, Gander puts emphasis on the action of picking it up. This simple action demands the viewer to take another comprehensive outlook and insists on questioning the multiple connections necessary to practice the simple puzzling action.

As a master storyteller, Gander often draws inspiration from children’s playfulness and their imagination. Gander’s work is formally diverse and has included, a chess set, a new word, a children’s book, jewellery, customized sportswear, glass orb paperweights and maps, whilst at the same time outlining the physical limitations he himself finds himself in. In the 2011 Venice Biennale exhibition, he presented an action-figure sized sculpture representative of himself while he falls from a wheelchair, “It is a self-portrait in the worst possible position,” he explains.[1] The British, conceptual artist likes to portray his disability and its runs as an undercurrent in most of his works. With this in mind, one can assume that the simple act of ‘picking up’ an object symbolizes the inequitable difficulties faced by the disabled.

His complex, yet mischievous practice is characterised by allusion, where focal points are teasingly hidden and meaning is subtly implied.[2] Although each of his artworks acts as a vessel to tell a new story, at the same time, they all collectively fit into an overarching narrative. The title, Agent of Redistribution (2018) suggests the changing nature of this piece, emphasized by the way it investigates the holographic, circling in the air, kept in a narrative loop. As Gander states: “I am interested in stories, and in the way that objects can act as vessels for these stories…”[3] Stimulated by existential queries, Ganders uses his artworks as investigations between the cross-sections of fiction and reality. Gander encourages the viewer to sit back and watch his conceptual work to ponder the present day anomalies through his constantly evolving practice from the confines of his mind and studio. His work is ultimately a huge set of hidden clues to be deciphered, inspiring each narrative to unravel with the complexities staged by the artist. Gander enhances this change, stimulating a new approach to be taken in the world and our place in it, with a more honest and empathetic light.

Ryan Gander (born 1976, Chester, UK) lives and works in Suffolk and London. He studied at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK; the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, Netherlands; and the Jan van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht, Netherlands. The artist has been a Professor of Visual Art at the University of Huddersfield and holds an honorary Doctor of the Arts at the Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Suffolk. In 2017 he was awarded an OBE for services to contemporary art. Recent solo shows have been held at Lisson Gallery, Shanghai, China (2019), Esther Schipper, Berlin, Germany (2019), 21st Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2018), TARO NASU, Tokyo, Japan (2018); gb Agency, Paris, France (2018); Dazaifu Shrine, Fukuoka, Japan (2017); Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Canada (2017); The Contemporary Austin, TX, USA (2017); the National Museum of Art Osaka, Osaka, Japan (2017); Hyundai Gallery, Seoul, South Korea (2017); Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (2016); Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO, USA (2016); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (2015); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia (2015); Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore, Singapore (2015); and Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK (2014). Major projects include Liverpool Biennale, UK; Sydney Biennale, Sydney, Australia; British Art Show 8, Leeds, UK; Performa 15, New York, NY, USA; Panorama, High Line, New York, USA; Imagineering, Okayama Castle, Okayama, Japan; ‘The artists have the keys’, 2 Willow Road, London, UK; Unlimited, Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Parcours, Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Esperluette, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany; ‘Locked Room Scenario’, commissioned by Artangel, London, UK; ILLUMInations at the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy; ‘Intervals’ at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, USA; and ‘The Happy Prince’, Public Art Fund, Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park, New York, NY, USA.

[1] “Ryan Gander.” Widewalls, www.widewalls.ch/artist/ryan-gander/.

[2] “Ryan Gander: I See Straight through You.” Lisson Gallery, Lisson Galelry, 2016, www.lissongallery.com/exhibitions/ryan-gander-i-see-straight-through-you.

[3]“Interview with Ryan Gander.” The White Review, www.thewhitereview.org/feature/interview-with-ryan-gander/.