macOS v10.12+ Screensaver
Designed by Ryan Gander
In September you arrived and I was having the first meeting of a class about how images and ideas circulate. I convinced you to set an assignment and you asked the students to spend the semester looking around campus.
During that year I became obsessed with the idea that the world can be divided into all the stuff that naturally conveys meaning, and all those things that are made to convey meaning. Almost all art is made of conventional signs, not natural ones.
That was light and generous to ask them to look for signs and to then identify for themselves whether they were natural or conventional.
Finding natural signs outside the safety of the gallery — just by accident, like a discarded bus ticket or a waning moon or footprints in the snow — that’s often more memorable or significant than those signs that I’m fed. And I guess as we navigate the world, we miss so much.
There must be endless flashes of magnificent provocations out there, but we have to look for them. Our assumption is that language should communicate an exacting message. Something is either black or white, there’s no grey area, no misinterpretation or misreading. But, of course all communication is open to multiple readings. And for me, that’s the joy. The beauty of the world comes from the way things collide, not the way things fit together.
A Melted Snowman emerges from a book published by Lisson Gallery of the same name, which, itself comes out of, in part, a year Ryan spent as 2019 – 2020 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University which then led to a remote exhibition and eventually answers the animating riddle:
When is a natural sign also a conventional sign?