Use your imagineering: Ryan Gander’s art world of pranks and puzzles

Eyes in the wall, coins glued to the floor: Gander’s new show at Manchester Art Gallery is full of spoof and childish wonder – he’s having a laugh, but is it at our expense?

The eyes swivel and follow me round the room, blinking with an echoing clack! Insouciant eyebrows are raised then furrow with a cartoonish human semaphore as I go from work to work, in Ryan Gander’s show at Manchester Art Gallery. Feeling the eyes boring into my back, I pretend to concentrate. Thank God a room full of Rembrandts doesn’t give you looks like this, portraits waggling their eyebrows as you pass.

Embedded not in a face but a blank wall, the eyes are animatronic, and connected to motion sensors. The eyebrows do a random dance all their own, signalling curiosity, surprise and worry. Maybe the eyes are a kind of self-portrait. They’re having a gander, innit.



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