To Resist Closure
“I’m not really like an artist, I’m more like a conductor.”
“The great potential of art is its ability to remain open, and to resist closure.” Conceptual artist Ryan Gander has cemented his place as one of the key figures in British art in the 21st century. In this video, he talks about the importance of not repeating yourself, and how rules and restrictions encourage the creative process. Read more …
“The hardest thing for a creative mind is to be given a difficult problem with rules and restrictions and constraints, and compromises that have to be made, and get something good from that situation.” Gander argues that being an artist isn’t really a creative challenge, as there aren’t any rules, and this is why he likes doing other things on the side – like designing a pair of trainers for Adidas: “It’s like taking your mind to the gym. It’s good exercise.” He feels that he has always been creative in the way an entrepreneur could be creative, constructing “creatively productive situations”: “I’m not really like an artist, I’m more like a conductor.” For more than a decade, Gander has made work by a fictional character: the old man Spencer Anthony. Making work as Anthony – or other characters that he uses – not only poses a creative challenge but also puts him in a different stance as an artist: “It’s a bit like having therapy, or an exorcism of the terrible ideas that are in you. You just need to get them all out.”
“It was like a stationary life.” Being in a wheelchair from childhood, with periods of hospitalization, Gander spent his time doing other things than playing football etc., and the issues of public and private space, institutionalization, the notion of invisibility and visibility and the projection of “cognitive images from a stationary position” in his work come from this. However, he doesn’t consider it different from how being a father, or having a working-class background, affects his work. Art, he feels, “has the space to exist in different ways to different people.”
Ryan Gander (b. 1976) is an English conceptual artist, who works with a wide range of materials – from a marble sculpture representing a shelter made by his then four-year-old daughter, glass orb paperweights and maps to photography, films and drawings. Because he is a wheelchair user with a long-term physical disability, most of Gander’s art is completely removed from the hand of the artist and carried out by a team of technical specialists. His work for the 2011 Venice Biennale exhibition featured an action-figure sized sculpture that represents him while he falls from a wheelchair: “It’s a self-portrait in the worst possible position,” Gander stated. Works by Gander are included in both international public and private collections such as Tate Collections in London, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. His solo exhibitions include Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Palais de Tokyo in Paris and Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. He lives and works in London.
Ryan Gander was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in August 2015 in connection with his exhibition ‘Ryan Gander, The Canter of Edward de Bono – new works by Spencer Anthony’ at the David Risley Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018
Supported by Nordea-fonden