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Esther Schipper
2019.04.26 Fri - 2019.06.15 Sat
Opening Exhibition
Potsdamer Straße 81e
49 (0) 30 37 44 33 133
Opening Hours
Tuesday through Saturday from 11 AM – 18 PM
Esther Schipper

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Ryan Gander: Some Other Life
Esther Schipper
[Press Release]

On the occasion of Gallery Weekend 2019, Esther Schipper is pleased to present Ryan Gander’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Some Other Life will feature new works—sculptures, installations, and a video—all articulated around the notion of illumination and enlightenment, both physical and metaphorical, notably through the use of neutral or middle grey, a tone that is perceptually about halfway between black and white on a lightness scale. Many of the exhibited works incorporate the use of rechargeable batteries for the storage of electricity that allow the works to function. In the artist’s own words: “Not only are many of the works conceptual timepieces unto themselves, but like our individual life cycles, they are quite simply running out. This relates to the mortality of the human condition and our anxiety around the influence we play in the world during our time here.”


Monkey See, Monkey Do, 2019 (detail)
Polyurethane, paint, glass, fiber glass, steel,
plastic, lamp oil, flame, timer
95 x 79 x 52 cm

Upon entering the exhibition space, visitors encounter two rolls of pure white carpet, partially unrolled and positioned side by side on the floor, show wheel tracks and footprints left by two vehicles and their drivers in what could be a snow-covered landscape. The work, titled Diagram for Common Ground, 2019, suggests a vague narrative where two characters have met and then departed from one another. The marks appear partially obscured by a subsequent flurry of snow, adding on to the poetic yet mysterious scene that may have happened there. Twenty-four grey numbered cubes are scattered across the white carpets; each cube emits a low volume ticking sound, at a tempo unique to the others.

Evidence of Absence, 2019
Two Peli cases containing 12 glowing acrylic cubes each, Installation dimensions variable, 20,4 x 55,6 x 42,8 cm each, 2 Peli cases

Positioned nearby, Evidence of absence, 2019, is comprised of two grey Peli cases containing glowing acrylic cubes numbered 1–24. Nine of them are dispatched across the exhibition marking the position of each artwork, while the remaining cubes are displayed within the open cases.

Screen Shot 2019-04-10 at 3.54.07 PM
Monkey See, Monkey Do, 2019 (detail) , Coated acrylic, gas can, timer, 95 x 79 x 52 cm

Featuring a full-size sculptural rendition of Vincent van Gogh’s painting Gauguin’s Chair, 1888 (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), Monkey See, Monkey Do, 2019, continues Gander’s investigation of the notion of artist. The dark-toned canvas by Van Gogh depicts, through the means of a burning candle and a couple of books left on the armchair’s seat, a portrait in absentia of the French painter, and Van Gogh’s close friend, Paul Gauguin. Not only did Gander reproduce the chair and objects with faithful details—an artificial candle is burning and then mysteriously blown out before re-igniting again in an endless loop—but he also rendered the painting’s distorted perspective of the chair’s structure, mimicking Van Gogh’s style in a three-dimensional space.

The candle is also the central motif of Gander’s Embrace Your Mistakes… Your Mistakes Are the Markers of Your Time, 2019. In this series of 365 ink drawings, one for each day of the year, the artist tries in vain to draw a candle that goes out. Each sketch is then crumpled and discarded into a waste paper bin, only to be recovered and smoothed out—while preserving each fold and crease—and framed in a neutral grey frame that echoes the color of Gauguin’s chair.

Furthermore, Gander presents a new iteration of his recent animatronic mice. In I… I… I…, a white mouse looks through a hole broken in the gallery wall, close to the floor. The robotic animal attempts to deliver a speech using the voice of the artist’s 9-year-old daughter who struggles and stutters with her words, not quite knowing how to begin or what exactly to say.

In So I see (So I see, the light is changing constantly, as is your perspective), 2019, a short flight of three steps set alongside a low wall, made from internally illuminated acrylic emitting a bright glow of white light, echoes the number markers dispatched in the exhibition.

A new film entitled Foreseeable future, or When the shadows go the wrong way, 2019, virtually renders a high-speed time lapse of the artist’s studio complex being covered by overgrowth, as time continually simulates its passing at an alarming rate. The inexorable degradation of the building is only visible through the image of its shadow being outlined as foliage covers it.

The material, formal and stylistic variety of Ryan Gander’s practice is unified both by his conceptual vision and by recurring themes concerning creativity, the nature of art and the life of the artist. In And for my next show, 2019, grey miniature maquettes of sculptural artworks—all from existing series by the artist—are displayed in a vitrine recessed into the wall, only 80 centimeters from the floor as if exhibited for a children audience.

Gander’s oeuvre evokes fictional spaces, referring to absent objects, artworks or persons, both real and imaginary. The artist often focuses his attention on the playfulness and imagination of children, who are less burdened by facts and appearances than adults.

About the Artist

Ryan Gander was born in 1976 in Chester, England. The artist lives and works between Suffolk and London.

Gander has been awarded numerous prizes including: the 2010 Zurich Art Prize, the 2006 ABN Amro Art Prize, and the 2003 Dutch Prix de Rome for Sculpture. He is the current holder of the 2019–20 Hodder Fellowship at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, Princeton. In 2015, he received the honorary degree Doctor of Arts of the Manchester Metropolitan University.

In 2017, Gander was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to contemporary art.

Gander has exhibited extensively. His institutional solo exhibitions include: Good Heart, Base / Progetti per l’arte, Florence (2018); The day to day accumulation of hope, failure, and ecstasy, Laguna Gloria, The Contemporary Austin, Austin (2017); Faces of Picasso: The collection selected by Ryan Gander, Remai Modern, Saskatoon (2017); These wings aren’t for flying, The National Museum of Art, Osaka (2017); Human/Non Human/Broken/Non Broken, Cc Foundation, Shanghai (2017); Works by Ryan Gander, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, Fukuoka (2017); To stand amongst the elements and to interpret what one knows, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenes, Deurle (2016); Creative play entails some risk taking, Scrap Metal Gallery, Toronto (2016); Make every show like it’s your last, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal (2016), Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2015), Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2015), and Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester (2014) (touring exhibition).

In 2016, Ryan Gander curated Night in the Museum, a selection of works from the Arts Council Collection. This exhibition launched at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as part of the celebrations for the Arts Council Collection’s 70th anniversary and traveled around the United Kingdom to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s Gas Hall, and the Attenborough Centre in 2017.

Recent group exhibitions and biennales include: Hate Speech. Aggression and Intimacy, Künstlerhaus Graz, Graz (2019); Apologia della storia – The historian’s craft, ICA Milano, Milan (2019); In My Shoes, Art and the Self since the 1990, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth (2019); KNOCK KNOCK, Humour in Contemporary Art, (co-curated), South London Gallery, London (2018); General Rehearsal. A Show in three Acts from the Collections of V-A-C, MMOMA and Kadist, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow (2018); SUPERPOSITION. Art of Equilibrium and Engagement, 21st Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (2018); Beautiful World, Where Are You?, 10th Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2018); Stories of Almost Everyone, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Travellers: Stepping into the Unknown, The National Museum of Art, Osaka (2018); The Heart of the Tin Woodmann, M WOODS, Beijing (2017); The Transported Man, Broad Art Museum, Lansing (2017); Jaguars and electric eels, Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin (2017), and Heterotopias. Avant-gardes in Contemporary Art, Aubette 1928, Strasbourg (2016).