Make every show like it’s your last
September 11 to November 1, 2015
The CAG presents an ambitious exhibition with UK artist Ryan Gander comprising a shifting selection of new and recent works centered on the artist’s ongoing conceptual investigations and playful cultural cross references.
Ideas of concealment, accessibility in every sense, and of a deliberate obfuscation to send our minds challenged and reeling, has been a constant ploy for Gander. Works are characterized most typically by a conceptual as well as formal rigour, often drawing together a layered range of sources and referents. For example in the video and associated off-site poster campaign, Imagineering (2013), there is a clear sense of play in the way work is constructed, and play as both an intellectual mode as well as a physical activity. The series of sculptures I is … (2013) evince a smart way with the art of storytelling in an immensely complex yet subtly coherent body of work which in its combination of the personal with the historical, delivers an emotional pull that is not only intellectually arresting, but also affecting in its humour, its delight in suggesting a dialogue between seemingly disparate objects or provoking associations tinged of sadness.
Organised by the CAG and produced in collaboration with Frac Île de France — Le Plateau, Paris; Manchester Art Gallery, UK; Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland; OK Offenes Kulturhaus / Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado and Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.
Off-site locations of Imagineering transit shelter posters in Vancouver:
1. Beach Ave & Thurlow St
2. Arbutus & W. Broadway
3. Cornwall & Vine
4. King Edward & Laurel
5. W. 2nd & Anderson
6. Commercial & E. 12th
7. E. Broadway & Penticton
8. E. Hastings & Princess
9. E. 22nd & Nootka
10. E. 41st & Kerr
Posted with the support of:
Sylvia Kind, PhD is an instructor in the School of Childhood Studies at Capilano University and an atelierista at the Capilano University Children’s Centre. Her work is motivated by an interest in artistic ways of knowing, children’s studio practices, experimentations with art as research in early childhood settings and the intersections of art and pedagogy. Kind will respond to elements of play in Ryan Gander’s exhibition.MORE
On Thursday September 10th, Ryan Gander’s Make every show like it’s your last was a brilliant opening night. Drinking cocktails from his Artist’s Cocktails book and stumbling upon his surprising and sometimes hidden pieces, visitors were treated to a playful and entertaining show. The biggest hit of the night by far was Magnus Opus, Gander’s animatronic eyes that move around the room, blink, and offer a confused stare at onlookers. This lifelike work has now been posted by many on Instagram with the hashtag #RyanGander.
Instagram has been talked about lately as having a huge impact on the art world, on collecting and on artists’ careers. A recent article on Artsy pointed out how much art is collected, discovered and promoted on the app. A New York collector is quoted as saying “If your artwork isn’t represented on Instagram these days, do you exist?” In our digital society, many of us check Instagram multiple times a day and use it to stay up-to-date on our favourite public figures, new styles, current events, sports and for those of us that love art, art! It is a great way to access the happenings of the contemporary art world. Notable, and sometimes contentious photographer Richard Prince recently exhibited New Portraits at the Gagosian in New York, a show featuring blown-up screenshots on canvas of other’s Instagram images. There is an ongoing debate about whether Prince’s works are “stolen” or whether his use of the public application as a source for his work is completely fair. Clearly, Instagram has pervaded the functions of the art world and influences it considerably.
At the CAG, we use our own Instagram account (@cagvancouver) to share images from our exhibitions, artist-in-residence projects, openings, new art publications, behind the scenes at the gallery, from our archive, a sneak peek at future exhibitions and our learning events. It is wonderful to see others posting images from our exhibitions and events. It allows the followers of those posting the images to discover a new favourite artist or encourage them to come see the show. We also get an insight into visitors’ own thoughts on the exhibition.
Visit the CAG before November 11 to see Ryan Gander’s solo exhibition, Make every show like it’s your last. If you take a photo, be sure to tag #RyanGander and @cagvancouver so we can see it and share it, too!MORE
A ‘behind the scenes’ report by CAG curatorial intern April Thompson.
Regardless of your familiarity with Ryan Gander’s work, if you have visited his current exhibition Make every show like it’s your last, you will have seen how the CAG can pull-off a show that contains an eclectic assortment of mixed mediums. A quick Google search of Gander’s practice will show you just how diverse his art ‘objects’ can be – ‘fictional products’ that can range from an Adidas tracksuit worn by Gallery Attendants to a gallery exhibition that cannot be entered. Indeed, it is Gander’s intention to evade any kind of predictability in his work and this means avoiding the ‘sedentary’ fixation on a specific medium. But what does this eclecticism entail for behind-the-scenes operations and those who are involved with the psychical realization of a show on Gander’s work? Gander’s studio in London alone attests to the immense logistical and engineering aspects that go behind every piece. Having been present for the install of the current Ryan Gander exhibition, I thought I would write about some of the unusual things I learned long the way.
Often when I look at an object in a touring exhibition, I wonder about its past life. What has the object seen and what stories could it tell. These thoughts were accentuated upon un-packing Magnus Opus, Ryan Gander’s artwork of animatronic eyes which are installed within the gallery wall. There was an uncanny sensation to opening the crate and finding two cartoon-like eyes, rolled up as if the object had been sleeping during its trans-Atlantic voyage. Installing the work into the CAG involved the construction of an artificial box-like wall which Magnus Opus could be placed in and wired up. While the wiring of the object took some time and intricate manoeuvring, it was a success to see the piece taking viewers by surprise as it came to life in the gallery space during the opening night.
If the I is… sculptures elicit a sense of mystery by appropriating the shape of objects covered up, then their arrival to the CAG in three 8 x 5 feet wooden crates only added to this suspenseful play on obstructed representation. Receiving these artworks that were shipped from the United Kingdom felt a lot like Christmas – though you can’ t touch or play with them. Instead, one must scrutinize their appearance for any sign of deterioration. Once the crates were half-opened and placed within the gallery, a condition report was conducted prior the object being lowered to its place on the gallery floor. Adorned with our white gloves, Assistant Curator, Jas Lally and I carried out our inspection – lightly brushing the surface of these resin marble structures. There is something that occurs during this process of touch. It is as if the curiousness of wanting to touch – of wanting to obtain the knowledge of how something feels – is profoundly disappointing. I don’t mean disappointing in that it lessens the enjoyment of the art object. What I mean is that, once you acquire that knowledge as to how something feels there is no going back. One cannot imagine other possibilities for what it might feel like. The same occurs from reading the label which lists exactly what objects contributed to the sculptures formation. When I researched these structures they seemed like impermeable, heavy classical marble things that would be cold and solid to touch. Yet, even in my white gloves, I felt that the material was lighter than I expected, hollow and less impenetrable. Thinking about this contrast between my expectations and my actual handling of the work, I began to appreciate even more the ways in which Gander plays with suspending our knowledge. The I is … series is powerful in that it juxtaposes what began as light playful creativity in order for these structures to be conceived and built by his daughter, with the ‘serious’ classical, high art materials and appearance of the marble sculpture object.
These vignettes behind the CAG install are only a snippet of the expansive organizational systems in place in order for Gander’s work to operate the way it does. Having witnessed first-hand the communications, interchanges and logistics that go behind putting on a show of Gander’s work, I have new found appreciation for what his work achieves. Gander’s work enables us to exist within a temporary moment of suspended knowledge, and in that moment we catch a glimpse of what it was like to be a child. The fact that so much organization and planning goes behind making this occur gives his work a special quality. It is at once intricate and complex, while also sweeping us up in what is often a simple curiosity.
– April ThompsonMORE
My name is April Thompson and I am thrilled to be a curatorial intern at the CAG.
My first experience with the CAG occurred two years ago when I arrived in Vancouver with the intention to stay just a month. When I came to Vancouver, I felt the strange sensation of visiting a place for the first time, yet feeling like I had come home. Needless to say I stayed much longer as I began volunteering at the CAG as a front of house attendant.
I am now currently in my second year of a Masters program in Critical Curatorial Studies at University of British Columbia. It has been fascinating to experience first-hand the differences within art historical and curatorial pedagogies taught here in North America compared to my undergraduate studies in Australia.
Working at the CAG has made me feel engaged with artistic dialogues that are occurring locally within Vancouver, as well as internationally. The CAG’s ability to maintain this network with both the local and the global is one of its great strengths and for me, what sets it apart within the cultural climate of this city.
Working closely with Assistant Curator, Jas Lally, I have helped with the logistical preparation for both Mungo Thomson’s recent summer show and the current Ryan Gander exhibition. Through dealing with the objects from these artists I was exposed to the challenges that come with moving art into Vancouver from America and the UK.
I look forward to working alongside the diverse and multi-faceted team here at the CAG, as I continuously learn about new aspects of the art world that often evade the University curriculum. At the moment I am researching works for an intriguing upcoming exhibition – stay tuned for more! See you at the CAG!
I’m happy to have joined the CAG team in the role of Visitor Coordinator: Publications.
Over the past few years I have been volunteering at the CAG, primarily with the Abraham Rogatnick Library. Exploring the collection which features contemporary arts production, and it’s various publications that are local and international in scope.
During the course of my education in Visual Arts (BFA) and Communication & Cultural Studies, I have had the opportunity to be trained by and work with some members of the Vancouver School and other noted Canadian artist and theorists. Beyond graduate studies, I continue an arts and research practice that encompass analyses of contemporary arts practices, Canadian Cultural Policy, photography and experimental film.
I appreciate the dynamics of the CAG’s organizational structure that has a clearly defined public engagement practice and philosophy to cultivate the understanding of art as meaningful to our everyday life.
I look forward to seeing you here at the CAG to talk with you about exhibitions, our resources and art.MORE