As old as time itself, slept alone

2016
Gander, Ryan
Ryan Gander is a prolific conceptual artist whose oeuvre resembles a collection of poetic responses to the world around him. His works take on many forms including publications, sculptures and performances, and they often involve second-guessing and visual or conceptual tricks, providing clues that invite the viewer to play detective in order to unravel a narrative. His commission, As old as time itself, slept alone is part of a series of sculptures modelled on Edgar Degas’ ballerinas. Gander uses the language of figurative sculpture to create a contemporary conceptual artwork. This time the diminutive dancer lies on the floor behind a large blue cube. She is similar in scale to those made by Degas, and the blue cube acts as a cipher for contemporary art, or as Gander describes it: ‘a cartoon version of contemporary art’. Gander is interested in how Degas’ ballerinas are almost standard issue for museums. In this series he attempts to give the ballerina a new life. He takes her off her plinth and allows her to explore the institution that had previously fixed her on a pedestal and rendered her passive and watched. But the inescapable paradox is that she is cast in bronze and will remain asleep, trapped behind her accompanying blue cube.
  • Artwork Details: 101 x 113.5 x 134.6cm
  • Edition:
  • Material description: Bronze, wood
  • Credit line:
  • Theme: Undefined
  • Medium: Sculpture
  • Accession number: ACC19/2015

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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

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