Chantal Ackerman and Ryan Gander

I went to see two exhibitions, Fieldwork Ryan Gander at the Lisson Gallery and NOW Chantal Ackerman at Ambika 3.

Ryan Gander Fieldwork 

I always enjoy Ryan Gander’s work for the wit and humour alone, always refreshing and never dull. I love having a good laugh in a Gallery, especially the Lisson.

The playfulness with which he presented ‘Found objects'(which weren’t ) on a conveyor belt reminiscent of ‘ The Generation Game’  and the ‘evidence’ of his Field work. As  the press release states ” the forms convened in Fieldwork are elliptic and opaque, starting stories for the viewer to invent or complete.” This is, of course, what I find most alluring about his work

One thing distressed me this time though. The artist’s second phone, which was a giant billboard installed outside the gallery displaying Gander’s phone number  was also a ‘fake’….either that or he just didn’t reply to my text…..  This reminded me of the work I made for the Interim Show last year – my work included a flyer with my mobile number on it……. Nobody called!


The artist’s second phone Ryan Gander   Image  from

Chantal Ackerman NOW 


This show was altogether different. Apart from the difference in the exhibition space, which for Ambika is huge, underground and  grey concrete and the fact that Ackerman’s work is video not object, Ackerman had died, by suicide, some months before this exhibition opened.That changes how it is viewed.

I looked at the work but also at the way the pieces were displayed. Often with multiple linked but separate projections making the almost but not quite identical images, almost painfully slow-moving films became fragments of a remembered whole for me. Sometimes there were  multiple screens to be wandered through so that their material presence became more like the physical presence of people to be moved around in a crowd or of a landscape to be navigated.

This review in Art Forum January 2016 gives insight into her work which has resonance for me.

 “The slow-moving, almost amatory pace of Ackerman’s films suggests she was prepared to use her camera to patiently probe…..” Kathy Halbreich

“Ackerman’s films often place us in the position of observer. They do not offer any definite interpretation that tells us what to think or how to look. We are left guessing.” Babette Mangolte




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