RYAN GANDER Once upon a Bicycle, not so long ago Annet Gelink Gallery proudly presents the fifth solo exhibition by Ryan Gander (Chester, 1976): Once upon a Bicycle, not so long ago, showing an entirely new body of work. Gander’s practice is as deeply conceptual as it is playful, recalling fictional stories and events, personal memories and art history - in particular the history of Modernism. In his current show at Annet Gelink Gallery, Gander reminisces, exhibiting his great skill as a visual storyteller. On entering the gallery, the first work one encounters is “My head on your Belly” (2013); a marble sculpture of the items of luggage Gander always travels with. Together with the title, the work seems to constitute a longing for home. A little further in the exhibition, one finds “Investigation # 99 – the halo effect” (2013), consisting of two sculptures which Gander has made from a description of an unfinished project by his father. Central in the exhibition space “I is … (iii)” (2013) is shown, a marble sculpture representing a den, which consists of a simple shelter made by the artist’s three years old daughter using a sheet and a full-size Rietveld Crate chair and smaller Rietveld Crate chair, designed for children. Although this work directly recalls Gander’s family life, it also hints to art history (De Stijl) by the use of the Rietveld Chairs and by the technique of ‘draping’. By rendering drapery in marble, Gander alludes to classical sculpture - creating a playful tension between tradition and modernity. Gander’s works are often extremely layered, threading together fact and fiction, the personal and the historical. By contrast to the traditional medium of marble, in “Investigation # 92 - With heart dotted 'i's” (2013) the artist employes striped toothpaste as his material, from which to fashion an alphabet. Likewise, the lamps he made for his wife are constructed from unorthodox media. In Gander’s practice, everything can become a work of art; the artist doesn’t limit himself in material nor in subject. By mentioning his wife, three-year-old daughter or father in his work, Gander easily engages his audience. One should keep in mind however, that his practice is as rigorous as it is poetic.
Recent projects include Esperluette, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FR; dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, DE; Boing, Boing, Squirt, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, MX; Locked Room Scenario, commissioned by Artangel, London, UK; and ILLUMInations at the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale.