“Ryan Gander: I see straight through you”
Time Out says
The idea of a portrait’s eyes following you around the room is as old as painting itself, but in his first show at Lisson Gallery’s New York outpost, British conceptual trickster Ryan Gander manages to reinvigorate the cliché via a disarmingly literal approach. In Dominae Ilud Opus Populare, Gander forgoes pictorial context by setting a pair of cartoonlike peepers—complete with expressive brows—into a blank wall. With the help of sensors and animatronics, they move according to the position of whoever is nearby. And by conveying a range of emotions, they also make for a neat introduction to the show’s underlying theme: the persistence of expression.
In the main gallery, three large, articulated figures made of metal and plastic components evoke a downbeat mood through their gestures, while “drapery” made of white marble resin veils three antique mirrors hung on the surroundings walls.
Both trios are striking in their simplicity, but it is Gander’s installation, Fieldwork, that creates the richer experience. A window offers a view of an enclosed space, where objects on pedestals glide by on a conveyor belt that is largely unseen. An accompanying book annotates these curious items (a trio of mannequin legs modeling nylons, a stack of bottled water, etc.), expanding on an earlier version of the work to produce a composite self-portrait. Fusing a kind of self-expression with its seeming opposite, Gander here synthesizes something uniquely eccentric.