Ryan Gander is the latest artist to join our series of In Your Face interviews. He speaks openly to Carrie Scott about the commercial aspects of Art Basel from EDITION Hotel Miami Beach, comparing its buying attendees to 'a feeding frenzy of vampires.' Gander is already on record critiquing the work of many of his contemporaries, 'art with stars, diamonds, palm trees, skulls, smileys, any emoticon. That’s what everyone seems to be interested in, daft cliches with no real meaning, depth, integrity or conceptual rigour.' In our interview he goes further, 'Half of the art world use basic signifiers and lack basic literacy.'
In contrast to the individuals he's referring to, Gander purposefully evades any kind of stylistic signature. It is very difficult to say 'that is a Gander' and often the work defies commodification altogether. Instead, he operates within a dialectic of story telling or folkloric traditions. Archaically, oral communication served as a means to make sense of the seemingly inexplicable forces of nature and offered a method of both counsel and remembrance. They gave communities a tool to help retain myths and legends, educate their members in certain skills and trades, and offer moral guidance. In contrast to a printed book, the spoken story has the capacity to be moulded around the concerns and interests of its audience. While fixed narratives were often maintained, storytellers might adopt a regional dialect, address a particular local issue or simply apply a new perspective to each tale according to the concerns of his or her listeners. The tools that are fundamental to oral recitation, such as gesture, speed, intonation, accent, and dramatisation, lend the tales that are told a malleable quality. Through accent inflection, break and breath, each story readily embraces and nurtures the mystical, the impossible and the anarchic, and presents a living and vibrant continuum for the passing along of knowledge. Integrating the attributes of oral traditions and spoken word into artistic practice is a means by which to push back against the frequently sterilising nature of the white cube and it seems that this is the realm in which Gander operates.
Watch his fascinating interview now, only on SHOWstudio.