Monday, 23 April 2012

Ryan Gander, the incorporation of "self" in art.

Although a wheelchair user, his work isn't always associated with the concept of disability but in 2011, his work was exhibited in Venice Biennale, where an action-figure sized sculpture represented him while falling from a wheelchair. He explained it as “a self portrait in the worst possible position”. This work exuded a deep sense of vulnerability. His head on the floor, as if completely fed up with his position as a wheelchair user and his eyes closed, as if reflecting on his position. Perhaps the scale is made small, because that is his state of mind when in such a physical position. Whilst lying there, there are thoughts of “will he bother to get up?”, “what are his reasons for getting up?”. Knowing the association between the self-portrait and the artist, we can surmise his reasons for getting up and getting over falling down as being, his continuation with work as an artist, the love for his family, his wife and daughter. Having a background of the work and the artists life, makes further associations and resolutions in reflection, more accessible.

Since I am not a person with a severe mental or physical disability, I cannot fully emerge myself into the life of someone who does but by growing up with someone who is dear to me, it is much more accessible to understand the complications associated with having a labelled disability. By producing work that is directly associated with my brother, my relationship with his disability would be more clear to those who know my association with him. Leaving the “self” out of the relationship and remaining objective when producing and exhibiting the work, will allow more freedom of thought from the audience. When exhibiting before, I was quite vocal about the subject being my brother and it has been a learning experience and leaded to my dissolution in vocally associating Sean and myself. 

The Artwork Nobody Knows, 2011.
140 x 140 x 15 cm - 55.1 x 55.1 x 5.9 (plinth), 15 x 7 x 5 cm - 5.9 x 2.8 x 2 (figure)

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