Ryan Gander's diverse practice includes sculpture, photography, print, design, film and installation, resulting in a unique portfolio of work best characterised by a love of storytelling through an ever-changing variety of materials and forms. Born in Chester in the northwest of England in 1976, Gander attended Manchester Metropolitan University where he studied interactive art: an art form that relies on the participation of its viewers. Upon graduating in 1999 with a first-class honours degree, he started work in a carpet shop in Chester until he travelled to Maastricht in the Netherlands to spend a year as a Post-Graduate Fine Art Research Participant at the Jan van Eyck Academie. He went on to take part in the artist residency programme of the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam until 2004.Read More
Drawing from his training as an interactive artist, Gander has frequently delivered his work as a tour of public lectures, such as the ongoing Loose Associations, which uses anecdotes to bring together otherwise disparate subjects. Gander also works with a team of technical specialists to produce more tangible works, his practice characterised by its exploration of wide spectrum of materials and techniques. In 2015, he told Ocula Magazine, 'Exhibitions that I make work off a sort of bouncing effect, moving from one medium to another, one tense to another. Mixing all devices and mechanics to make you unsure of where you are.'
Gander is a wheelchair user whose works sometimes speak to his experiences living with a long-term physical disability. A 2006 installation, Is this guilt in you too? (Cinema Verso), recreates a trip to the cinema that goes horribly wrong by trailing the confused visitor in circles as they search for a way to the screening. To create the disorienting effects, Gander filled a poorly lit gallery space at the old Whitechapel Library with illusions, obstacles and dead ends that trap the visitors. The work sheds light on some of the daily struggles for disabled people navigating our world and formed part of the Art Council's 'Adjustments' series that aimed 'to address transitional thinking on disability, equality and inclusion'. For his entry to the Venice Biennale in 2011, Gander produced The Artwork Nobody Knows, a miniature resin model of himself falling from a wheelchair as 'a self-portrait in the worst possible position'.
Gander teaches at several institutions including Goldsmiths, the Royal Academy of Arts and University of Huddersfield. As well as the Biennale of Sydney (2018) and the Venice Biennale (2011), Gander's work has been exhibited at the Shanghai Biennale (2012), dOCUMENTA (13) (2012) and Carnegie International (2008). Gander has had several solo exhibitions including The National Museum of Art, Osaka (2017); GALLERY HYUNDAI, Seoul, (2017); TARO NASU, Tokyo (2016); Singapore Tyler Print Institute (2015); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); The Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2003); Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna (2007) and CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2007). In the 2017 New Year Honours, Gander was appointed Office of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to contemporary art.
Josephine Lawson-Tancred | Ocula | 2018