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Available in Three Different Sizes And Four Different Colours
Broken neon
27,9 x 221 x 7,6 cm
Inv. Nr. 159
Photo: Courtesy the artist and gb agency, Paris

Born in 1976 in Chester, England
Lives and works in London, England 

Blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction, Ryan Gander assembles seemingly disparate objects, actions and texts so as to develop his own narrative systems. His work explores a train of thought concerning art’s discursive potential and its transmission systems, with a sharp sense of humour.

Ryan Gander created a series of Alchemy Boxes made with common elements from the urban landscape or from the gallery space, in which mysterious contents are sealed. This version is made of two low exhibition plinths, containing articles relating to the theme of associative thinking methods, collage, montage and unintended and uncharted collisions of ideas. The ingredients within are listed on a transfer on a nearby wall.

With a Smile on Your Face is a cardboard life-sized cut-out, similar to those one might expect to find at the entrance of a cinema, except that it is standing in the corner of the room facing the wall. On the front of the cut-out is a picture of the back of the fictional artist Santo Sterne, but the image has been spray-painted a sepia colour so that only the silhouette is visible.

You Can See Straight Through It (‘Arguably, Sir, Arguably’) consists in a photograph of a record cover by the band The Fall, cut out from the picture the artist made of it on the wall of his studio. This precise artistic act was mentioned in art press magazine during the year prior to the execution of the work. Instigated by the artist Nathaniel Mellors, the idea intensified after a conversation with Dan Fox and Ryan Gander on the 16th of September 2007 in Lyon, France.

Only Really Applicable to Those that Can Visualise it Upside Down, Back to Front and Inside Out emits a plume of smoke five seconds after the visitor leaves the exhibition space. Although other viewers in the space have the opportunity to witness this remnant of the spectator’s presence as if he has just disappeared into a puff of smoke, it is likely that the spectator activating the work never has the chance to observe it.

Available in Three Different Sizes And Four Different Colours features an iconoclastic gesture, which is a neon sign smashed by the artist, with the broken parts lying on the floor and the electrical connections still hanging from the wall. Ironically, the lighted letterings originally spelled out the sentence “say what you see.” This piece deals with the secret meaning of artwork, by once again using the strategy of deferring its presence in the exhibition space. The title offers an open commentary on a certain economy of art, in which a “good idea” has to be profitable, while the form criticizes the ever-expanding use of neon in contemporary art.