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Ryan Gander Exclusive Q&A

FAD MAGAZINE Ryan Gander, Photography by Jon Gorrigan, Lavenham Jackets.
Ryan Gander, Photography by Jon Gorrigan, Lavenham Jackets.

Ryan Gander work ‘The End’ the third and final work in Ryan’s trilogy of philosophical mice went live on the Lisson website last week. It was completed just before the start of coronavirus but strangely is very in tune with our current climate… they are called the prophets for a reason!

Alongside this you can see a never-before-seen film by Ryan called Only a matter of time here a take on his BBC documentary, Me, My Selfie and I. Also on his Instagram Ryan launched free tutorials for BA & MA art students, with 5 other artists helping out- so with all this stuff going on we decided to ask Ryan some questions and see what he came back with – as ever totally cool..

Ryan Gander The End 2020 Animatronics Room variable dimensions. Mouse unit: 19.5 x 24 x 22 cm Room variable dimensions. Mouse unit: 7 5/8 x 9 3/8 x 8 5/8 in FAD MAGAZINE
Ryan Gander The End 2020 Animatronics Room variable dimensions. Mouse unit: 19.5 x 24 x 22 cm Room variable dimensions. Mouse unit: 7 5/8 x 9 3/8 x 8 5/8 in

1. Hi, I just watched ‘The End’ online and was thinking maybe it even works better online? I actually listened to the whole thing which I wouldn’t have done in a gallery setting – for me, the ‘whisper’ works better online than in the gallery – is that good?

Personally, I’m of the opinion that nothing works better online, the world is a beautifully rich and stimulating place, full of chance, and risk, and consequences, nothing can better that. Whispers work very efficiently in any context, because we know the world is too loud, too fast, too distracting and too unethical… This is a reality we’ve accidentally created for ourselves through the acceleration of everything… For decades we wanted everything quick and easy, but only now are we realising that most things are only a rich rewarding experience when they are slow and difficult.

Ryan Gander Only a matter of time FAD MAGAZINE
Ryan Gander Only a matter of time screen gab

2. Only a matter of time is a take on your BBC documentary, ‘Me, My Selfie and I’ – I really liked the BBC documentary, in fact, I like all your BBC stuff especially the Japan one. However, I can’t help thinking that if something works you shouldn’t mess with it – should you?

It depends on your view on the value of originality and authenticity. A4 paper is 21cm x 29.7cm because it has been reworked over hundreds of years by different people to be the most economic and efficient promotion for its use. Do you prefer tainted Love by Soft Cell, Coil, Grace Jones, Marilyn Manson or The Cure…? A lot of people are hung up on copyright and plagiarism, although making a cover version of your own material is not likely to entail copyright infringement, it is nevertheless an interesting subject. For me, everything in the world is material… like a painter perhaps understands colour, everything is to be used, sampled, reworked and collided with other things, that’s how accidental and unexpected transformations occur. Usually, the people who perceive ideas as property, are the people that don’t have a lot of ideas of their own but really wish they could have. As my mother says “There’s no pockets in a shroud” – by which she means you can’t take it with you. The value of an idea is the enjoyment of having it and watching the consequences of it unfold in peoples’ lives. Growth economy means we spend our time accumulating stuff, and the more we gain the less time we have to enjoy it… Time is running out. We should enjoy ideas like we enjoy the taste of different food, they’re not property, they’re not for accumulating and their value fluctuates through time.

3. You seem to be keeping busy with work and the tutorials on Instagram – in your conversation with Cory in The Art of Conversation, you mention you had three teaching jobs to keep your practice going – are you a great believer in hard work?

I believe people that work hard must enjoy work, or see what they do not as work, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it. An online student from Free Tutorials said “thank you for doing this, it’s very generous” to me last week. I explained that this wasn’t done through generosity… I enjoy seeing and thinking about art, I enjoy meeting new people and I enjoy talking about art… If anything it’s a selfish act, perhaps I get more from it than the students. Weirdly though if I was paid for it I was thinking perhaps I would enjoy it less. There is a liberty in having agency over how you choose to spend your time, that being paid to do something can take away.

Ryan Gander I be... (xxv), 2018 Antique mirror, marble resin 160 x 85 x 15 cm 62 7/8 x 33 3/8 x 5 7/8 in FAD MAGAZINE
Ryan Gander I be… (xxv), 201 Antique mirror, marble resin 160 x 85 x 15 cm 62 7/8 x 33 3/8 x 5 7/8 in

4. Final question – painting is something else you and Cory talked about – there seems to be a boom in painting especially shiny cartoony colourful stuff – have you felt tempted to pick up a paintbrush during lockdown?

Hahahah, would it add a zero to my bank balance? As I said above: There is a liberty in having agency over how you choose to spend your time, that being paid to do something can take away. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it matters what it is…

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Ryan Gander discussing The End soundcloud.com/lissononair/ryan-gander-discusses-the-end

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