Art with a wink

By: Louk Vreeswijk

May 06 2018

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Category: Europe, Italy

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The one girl looks intently at the other, and vice versa. Each one utterly intrigued by the sight of the other.
I remember I had a funnily-meant little book long ago, called ‘Kunst met een knipoog’ (‘Art with a wink’), with a winking Mona Lisa on the cover.
Here it is not the girls that wink at each other, they are too much absorbed in trying to understand what they see. It is Gander who winks at Degas, and at art history. With his light-hearted, humorous art works Ryan Gander would not have been out of place in that little book.

Ryan Gander, The Artwork Nobody Knows (2011), in Parapavillion by Song Dong, 2011 Venice Biennale, Italy 2011

He had another work at the 2011 Venice Biennale: a miniature self-portrait, his full figure lying on the floor, fallen out of his wheelchair. He clearly doesn’t take himself all too seriously with his handicap. All this doesn’t mean he doesn’t take art seriously!
His tiny figure on the elevated white board is only 15 cm long. Ideally he would have liked to put his miniature body and wheelchair directly on the ground, just like the two Degas girls. But then he would certainly not have survived for long. He would have ended up crushed and kicked underneath one of Song Dong’s cupboards.
While there is so much he still wants to do!

Photo of the week: Ryan Gander (UK), Out of sight (All on my own) – Degas ballerina copied in bronze with mirror image -Venice Biennale 2011, Italy 2011

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