Last summer, we made the most of the privilege of having a garden, all the usual stuff: paddling pool, scooters, water pistols etc… for the kids, not me. We put up a dome tent that we found at the back of the shed and camped out some nights. One morning in August my eldest daughter Olive who was aged 9 then (and incidentally designed the poster for this exhibition) came running into the kitchen asking me to ‘make it 3D again’. Baffled, I went out to investigate. The dome tent had collapsed. I was shaken by this perspective of identification of flat and non-flat, and language that could only have come from a human with a younger mind than mine, free from stigma, baggage and precedence. Some things are what they are before there is language to adequately explain their qualities. Flatness has preoccupied me this year. The Suffolk landscape that I loved, which is dead flat, became monotonous, repetitive and endless, I literally couldn’t leave it. I taught myself about the differences between things that are things and things that try to be things, Flat artworks are often this idea solidified in conformity. Time was flattened, becoming a deja vu paradigm, and I tried to paint, which is essentially a flat activity that I have always ferociously criticised for being more retinal than cognitive. I changed, whilst the world changed around me.
Flat Work is an exhibition by some of my favourite artists, confirmed by the fact that for one reason or another, I’m jealous of them all. I don’t usually ‘curate’ shows very willingly, as my own practice is more entailed with exhibition-making than art-making, it makes me feel like a curatorial phoney. In addition, I have an irrational fear that curating might devalue my day job. However, happenstance gave me a gallery in my studio, a bleak era gave me an excess of solitude and as Suffolk is now undergoing a weird renaissance, I thought it might be nice to gather great people and make something happen that isn’t as flat as everything I have encountered on the internet over the last year. Quite literally, making it 3D again.
Keep it 3D. Ryan x
Artists: Cory Arcangel, Simeon Barclay, Oliver Beer, Harry Grundy, Sarah Lucas, Simon Newby, Liv Preston, Luna Suzuki St Ahl with abake.
7th August – 12th September Solid Haus Saddlemakers Lane Melton IP12 1PP UK @solid.haus
Solid Haus is a new Kunsthalle-like contemporary art space situated in rural Suffolk, two hours east of London. Initiated during 2020 and situated with the studios of Ryan Gander, Solid Haus made positive use of an era of lockdown, with an intention of hosting impromptu projects by both emerging and established artists.