Night in the Museum – Ryan Gander’s touring show in Leicester.

My wife and I were in Leicester at the weekend and had some time to kill. While Googling for local events, we found a touring exhibition was still on at the local arts centre and the opening hours fit our schedule well.

We both like a mixture of modern and not-so-modern art and this exhibit seemed to span the two, although the brief description online didn’t quite explain what was really going on.

Ryan Gander Curates Night in the Museum is a collection of works on loan from the Arts Council Collection, showing at the Attenborough Arts Centre.

A variety of works, sculptured and two dimensional, were displayed across two rooms (the third was closed the day we went) in pairs. The sculptured figures, instead of being positioned to face into the room, were situated as if looking at the paintings/photographs/painting-type-pieces on the wall, each of which had a blue theme. Rather than, or as well as, looking at the passive figures as objects to be viewed, you saw them as active participants with a gaze. Don Brown’s Yoko XX seemed to have an internal depth that suggested personality, tastes, thoughts, even potential movement. Putting the figures in a position of looking at something, it was as if they were given something to do and came to life, even if motionless.

The pairs were also arranged by date. A more recent piece was arranged with an older piece which seemed to give the couples depth, like a distance that added contrast.

Talking to the extremely helpful and knowledgable staff on duty, we learned that the title of the piece by Daniel Batchelor, I Love King’s Cross and King’s Cross Loves me, was a Duchamp reference pointing to his converting of a useful object to one of beauty. Metal trolleys had brightly coloured glass installed that made them fragile and impractical.

Beautifully presented and brilliantly curated, Night in the Museum is a show to inspire and enjoy.

My wife commented that this was the most interesting and exciting exhibition she had seen. I would have to agree.

Night in the Museum is showing until 27th May 2017.

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Images © Attenborough Arts Centre.


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