Image: Ryan Gander, The Fourth Baron Egertons' 16 Plumed Bird of Paradise, 2010 © Ryan Gander. Courtesy the Artist
Ryan Gander was born in Chester, England in 1976. He studied at Manchester Metropolitan University, Jan van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht, the Netherlands and Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam.
Gander’s work is very diverse and includes installation, performance, painting, publishing, design and curating. A common thread through his practice is an impulse for storytelling, with works often serving as clues to complex narratives.
The two pieces titled The Fourth Baron Egerton’s 16 Plumed Bird of Paradise and A History Unfolds/A Legacy Unravels (all 2010) relate to the same story – the ‘forged’ discovery of a new species of tropical bird by two English gentlemen, Baron Egerton and Sir Sebastian Lawes. The works were originally created for an exhibition at the National Trust property, Tatton Hall in Cheshire, once the home of Baron Egerton: they comprise a taxidermal bird; a historical photograph of the bird in situ at Tatton Hall; and two newspaper articles (one historical and one recent) relating to the bird’s story. Although presented together as a historical record, there is an ambiguity as to whether the tale is a matter of fact or fiction. The blurring of the boundary between real and imaginary is frequently at play in Gander’s work, which employs visual trickery and misdirection, or what the artist calls ‘exercise for the imagination’.