Night in the Museum: Ryan Gander Curates the Arts Council Collection
‘When I look at sculptures of the human figure I am frequently left thinking of all the things that they’ve seen. This is the world of the silent onlooker.’
Curated by the leading British artist Ryan Gander, this major new touring exhibition offers a unique view of the Arts Council Collection in its seventieth anniversary year. As an artist, Gander is known for avoiding a recognisable style, preferring to work with many different materials to explore new approaches to art. For Night in the Museum, Gander has positioned a range of figurative sculptures so that they can gaze at artworks featuring the colour blue – a colour which is important in Gander’s work, and which for him represents the abstract ideas often found in modern and contemporary art. The figures contemplate a wide selection of post-war British art encompassing different styles and periods. In presenting works in this unusual way, Gander disrupts the role of the curator as a mediator between art and the public. He invites us to look beyond traditional themes and histories and to consider new narratives and relationships.
Night in the Museum represents the work of over thirty artists including Angela Bulloch, Patrick Caulfield, Don Brown, Jacob Epstein, Liam Gillick, Roger Hiorns, David Hockney, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Kerry Stewart, and Rebecca Warren. Also on public display for the first time is Ryan Gander’s new commission for the Arts Council Collection, As old as time itself, slept alone 2016 – the latest in an ongoing series in which Gander re-imagines Edgar Degas’ famous work The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer (1880-81) in different scenarios and stages in life, always paired with a blue cube.
The tour opened at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and travelled to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Attenborough Centre, Leicester.