Two eyes embedded into the gallery wall drive home Gander’s point. Powered by motion sensors and advanced animatronic technology, they stare out at visitors and trail their every move. (The show’s press release reveals that they’ve been “programmed to generate every expression that can be registered through one’s eyes.”) Given Gander’s habit of collecting objects, gestures, and the cultural idiosyncrasies that surround him, it’s not hard to imagine these eyes as Gander’s own—gazing out at the world and pocketing our conversations, our postures, our emotions, maybe even the typeface that accents our business cards, in the process.
But in the context of the rest of the show, this doesn’t read as voyeurism or a privacy-breaching act; it feels like something closer to cultural preservation. “Collecting, after all, is not too dissimilar from storytelling, fable-making, writing and recording history, and passing on information or intellectual assets from one generation to another,” he explains in his catalog. But Gander is not only collecting and telling stories, he’s encouraging us, with his sculptures that brim with meaning, to make our own. “That’s the point of a story, isn’t it? To inspire people. To give them examples of how they can think around problems or find another trajectory,” he explains. Perhaps Gander does see straight through us, but after spending time with his show, you won’t mind one bit.