In Alain Robbe Grillet’s The Eraser’s Inspector Wallas, the novel’s protagonist, finds himself appointed to investigate a crime in a town only vaguely familiar to him. He and the reader are soon immersed, and often lost, in the town’s labyrinthine streets and the plot’s frequent duplication of character and event; only serving to confound the solving of a murder in which, unbeknown to the sleuth in pursuit of an assassin, nobody has been killed.
In the title of his forthcoming project, produced by Artangel, artist Ryan Gander makes a nod to ‘the locked room mystery’, a common device in detective fiction where the murder is committed in a seemingly impossible situation. But it is Robbe Grillet’s deconstruction of the genre that could perhaps be offered as a more apt literary reference. Gander’s practice to date serves up a multitude of puzzles eclectically manifest in photography, film, sculpture, books, performative lectures and constructed scenarios. Described as a ‘teller of tales’, Gander’s work operates via assembly and digression to create narrative systems in which fact and linearity are elusive and ambiguous.
The promotional material for Locked Room Scenario makes it clear that visitor’s are to be presented with a mystery. A set of questions are defined to prescribe intrigue; “What is Gander’s Role in bringing together the exhibition in this warehouse?”, “Who are these artists and what are their interconnected histories?” Visitors are invited to attend a warehouse in Hoxton where a group exhibition might be showing. We are led to expect the exhibition to be closed and are prompted to look for clues, albeit to a hazy riddle.
Locked Room Scenario will be at the London Newcastle Depot in Hoxton, East London from 30th August to 23rd October. Entry is by appointment only. When making a booking it is requested that mobile phone numbers of visitors are provided. Text messages received en route to the project implicate visitors in Gander’s narrative before the location has been reached. From this early involvement right through to a perhaps baffled journey home Locked Room Scenario aims to create “a sense of the uncanny that may even pursue visitors as they leave”.
Artangel commissions and produces projects across the arts that result from interaction with places beyond the space of the gallery, cinema, or theatre. Locked Room Scenario is supported Arts Council England, Artangel International Circle, Special Angels, The Company of Angels, Londonewcastle and Lisson Gallery.
Londonewcastle Depot, 1-3 Wenlock Rd, London N1 7SL (open Tuesday – Sunday) Tickets £4
Image: Ryan Gander. Locked Room Scenario, 2011. courtesy of the artist.
For further information and to book see: