Ryan Gander: Locked Room Scenario. Artangel

by Sue Hubbard

ScreenHunter_09 Sep. 19 08.36 I’m tempted, by way of a review, to leave this page blank. After all I don’t want to be too directive. I’d like to feel that you, the reader, are free to make whatever contribution you consider appropriate. All you need do is apply your imagination. Come on; I’m sure you can do it if you try. The possibilities are endless and as valid as anything I might come up with surely? What’s the point of bothering to spend all day putting a review together when you can write anything you want? Who needs critics? Who needs artists anyway? After all skill is so passé.

Ryan Gander’s Artangel project is called Locked Room Scenario. The Chester born Ryan first grabbed art-world attention with his Loose Associations originally performed at the Rijksakdaemie in Amsterdam, when he was a student there in 2002. His talk took circuitous routes through “desire lines” (imaginary paths across public spaces) to imagining fake furniture and, even more esoteric, Christine Keeler’s Connection to Homer Simpson. His Alchemy Boxes contained models of work by other artists, as well as personal items including Truffaut DVD covers and books. His output has been, to say the least, eclectic and idiosyncratic: drawings, sculpture, films and customised sportswear, a chess set, jewellery and a children’s book have all been spawned by his copious imagination. He describes himself as a storyteller. His work is spun from the personal and the cultural in a complex web of narratives and subplots. It’s as if he is aiming to become the Jorge Luis Borges of the visual art world, leaving us clues where ever he goes. It’s not surprising to learn that he has a passion for Inspector Morse and Sherlock Holmes.

When I arrive at an unprepossessing modern industrial warehouse in the mean streets of Islington, London, just between fashionable Wharf Road – where the exclusive galleries Victoria Miro and Parasol Unit reside – and the canal, I’m met at the gate by an invigilator with a list of names and am checked in. I ask where the exhibition is and he waves his arm vaguely. I enter the building and find a young couple sitting on the stairs listening to their i-pod and wonder if they’re part of the exhibition. I ask, but they don’t reply.

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