The passage of time is at the center of artist Ryan Gander’s current solo exhibition at Lisson Gallery’s 67 Lisson location in London. Marking the artist’s sixth solo show with the gallery, Gander’s show has pulled a particularly simple, yet tellingly even-handed quote from his father as the inspiration for the show: “let the world take a turn.” Taking his father’s words to heart, Gander encourages spectatorship, welcoming the viewer to allow time to take its course within the gallery, and to allow it to work its healing, transformational capabilities to work throughout the show.
The show is an intriguing response to the artist’s traditional auteurist prompt, with Gander taking up a position less as a controlling agent on the perception and movement of time in the gallery, and more as a facilitator. Things change as the world changes, while everything stays the same, based on prompts given the exhibition text.
The show itself is literally an hourglass, a massive pit of black sand placed on the top floor of the space allowed to slowly pass through a small hole in the floor, and down into a pile in the street-facing room of the gallery’s ground floor. The gallery traces the duration of its own exhibition through physical accumulation, the pile of sand gradually obscuring the small stone sculptures on the ground floor while uncovering another series of larger stone sculptures depicting nymphs on the second floor. The show is a shifting series of spatial relationships and dynamics of visual perception, underwritten by the unchangeable forces of gravity and its relationships to time.
Gander marks an intriguing relationship between natural phenomena and the forces of physics on our planet, one where the physical composition of space enters directly into a relationship with time itself. Setting up the conditions for the show, Gander then steps back and literally “lets the world take a turn,” in more ways than one. Both gravity and time, the results of the earth’s rotation, become the stars of the show, with Gander maintaining some degree of a supporting role.
True, while the artist has welcomed the world into his space, he remains a participant. In one striking work at the entrance to the gallery, a massive sign akin to a railway timetable hangs from the ceiling, changing its tiles gradually while soundtracked by the artist’s voice recounting autobiographical tales. Gander’s interest in the passage of time ultimately places this relationship of self and nature as the essential relationship. Even as we remain fully immersed in the world’s movements, and the various human situations bound by it, Gander emphasizes the ephemeral, often abstracted relationship between memory and life, the world and the human mind. Presented here, one feels a particularly compelling prompt to embrace each in their own right.
The show closes April 21st.
— D. Creahan
Ryan Gander at Lisson Gallery [Exhibition Site]