Other People Place: Ryan Gander at Galeria Nuno Centeno
Ryan Gander presents Other People Place, curated by Adam Carr, at Galeria Nuno Centeno, Porto. The British artist, one of the most relevant contemporary artists, is increasingly known for a multidisciplinary approach, which fits his narrative marked by social reflection. Without moving away from any theme, criticism or self-criticism, the artist thinks about the current society through visual language.
In the exhibition, Gander presents his documentary Me, My Selfie and I, curated by BBC, where he questions notions of the image in the social media age. The relationship we establish not only with the other but with ourselves, in a narcissistic complex, influences the way we think about society. This influence is analysed by Gander according to not only social but also artistic concerns, through his individual artistic practice. In this documentary, the artist hides his face behind images that are then added on from animated portraits. He withdraws from the problem of self-fascination, almost as if it were a neutral element, and takes on a fragility of his own, which is common to society: the obsession with his image settled in a symbolic visual disappearance. The artist’s work simultaneously explores contradiction and the acceptance of what exists and what does not.
When Gander shows a photograph that depicts his family before his birth, withdrawing himself again from an image that only through him relates to the exhibition, the artist exists and does not exist through an image and a non-image – here is My Family Before Me. Let’s analyse the title of this work: the artist not only uses the image but also uses a description centred on himself and his non-presence: his non-presence determines the meaning of the image. We also have mirrors covered by classically carved drapes, leaves that are spread out on the floor like flyers, whose information will forever be lost, becoming uninteresting given how hard it is to understand them. What will the future of human relationships be like? With the other, with ourselves, with image and communication? And are we initiating a socially apathetic state, given the individual-driven obsession?