‘make every show like it’s your last’ ryan gander at manchester art gallery
magnus opus, 2013
image martin argyroglo
courtesy lisson gallery




ryan gander ‘make every show like it’s your last’
at manchester art gallery
from now – 14 september, 2014


ryan gander’s largest UK solo exhibition is currently on show at the manchester art gallery. the works on display highlight gander’s multidisciplinary process, with pieces ranging from paintings, sculpture, film and photography, installations, slideshows, and even advertising campaigns on the streets of manchester.


at the heart of the exhibition lies the concept of the imagination. focusing on two recent themes in gander’s practice, ‘imagineering’ and the ‘culturefield’, the exhibition will bring together works previously unseen in the UK to highlight the artist’s playful wit as well as explore the relationships between author, work and viewer where the rules are constantly redefined. returning to the city where he studied his undergraduate degree, gander will illustrate his close connection to manchester through the creation of new work made exclusively for the exhibition at manchester art gallery.


‘the city of manchester has always been important to me. through this exhibition I wish to explore my interest in stories, the way objects can act as vessels for narratives and the possibilities presented by the imagination.’ – ryan gander


the works here bring together multifarious biographical, narrative and conceptual elements, the exhibition will reflect gander’s interest in the nature of art production and the perception of objects, presenting a complex puzzle to be solved.



magnus opus, 2013
image martin argyroglo
courtesy lisson gallery




the show includes magnus opus, 2013 – a pair of animatronic eyes that stare at passing visitors while reacting to their movement. the eyes adopt a range of expressions such as curiosity, boredom, anger, concentration, confusion and happiness. through this work, gander reverses the traditional gallery experience and creates a situation in which it is the spectator who is being watched by the exhibition space.


make everything like it’s your last, 2013
photo martin argyroglo




another highlight of the exhibition will be gander’s video work imagineering, 2013 which takes the form of a fictional advertising campaign aimed at encouraging imagination among the british population. commissioned by gander and designed and produced by kirke and hodgson advertising, with henry maynard primary school, walthamstow, the artist plays the role of the government’s department for business, innovation & skills (BIS). through this work, gander imagines an alternative reality to our current political and creative climate in which the government has an ambition to promote creativity in the british psyche. as well as a TV commercial in the gallery space, a full print advertising campaign will take place around the city of manchester to coincide with the duration of the exhibition.


the retinal account, or and when you are older you will go away, you’ll see injustice and you’ll see pain, 2014
courtesy the artist and lisson gallery




exclusively to the manchester art gallery are gander’s degas’ dancer series the retinal account, or and when you are older you will go away, you’ll see injustice and you’ll see pain. the sculptures demosntrate ryan’s interest in the reinterpretation of iconic figures in art (he has worked with degas’ dancer since 2008). as part of this series he enables the female figure to step down from her plinth, remove her tutu and explore the exhibition space that surrounds her. with each new staging of this work, a new narrative sequence is proposed and the dancer’s position in art history is questioned as she attempts to make a transition from modern to contemporary.


the poetics of gig, 2012
photo diego berruecos
courtesy the artist and lisson gallery




c++, 2013
image martin argyroglo


ryan gander


ryan gander
ryan gander is an internationally acclaimed conceptual and visual artist from england. he specializes in sculpture and installation, often confronting viewers with a puzzle and challenging them to decipher its sophisticated logic. gander’s work has been exhibited in the guggenhiem museum in new york, the venice biennale, the museo tamayo, and the yokohama triennial.



read our recent interview with ryan, where he discusses his ‘puzzle box’ »