Ryan Gander: Annet Gelink Gallery
Liaticken, Sven, Artforum International
In much modern art, the beholder is "given" suggestive elements--such as a waterfall and illuminating gas--without much guidance toward an authoritative interpretation. Ryan Gander presents himself as a fervent proponent of this open-ended aesthetic: In a catalogue text accompanying his 2005 installation The Alpinist, Gander explained that the visitors were "given" a year (in the future), a character (an Alpinist), five hundred "completely alien" objects (seemingly made from concrete), and, lastly, moonlight. Gander closed his statement by asking "What would you give in return?" It is a question that looms equally large over his latest show, "Your Clumsiness Is the Next Man's Stealth."
The gallery's central space was dominated by A Slowing of the Spectator's Eye, 2005, a fiberglass relief wall mimicking poured concrete; its gray tilted squares recalled both '70s architecture and some forms of later-modernist and minimalist art. In front of this stood Your Life in Three Acts, 2005-2006, some cardboard boxes offering maps of Amsterdam with old streets and alleys that no longer exist drawn in. The third and last element was Comic Cosmology, 2005, an animation of the starry logotype of the 1964 World's Fair in Queens. Both the stars and the wall bear a certain family resemblance to what is depicted in the photo in the front room: a London building with a blue LED asterisk in a window, accompanied by a sentence on the adjoining wall reading, "*The significance of this place has not yet been realized." Together, photo and sentence make up A Drama Set in Loy Us, 2006--the title being a near anagram of "My Sara Lane Studio." As is often the case with Gander, one might ask if the elements in this show are really that intriguing--or even meant to be. …