Last Saturday we received a text message from a number we didn’t recognise. It only made sense three days later, halfway through wanderings around a half-derelict Hoxton warehouse, more squat than gallery. And even then, it didn’t really make sense.
If you’re fond of the unfathomable, but none the less enjoy a good puzzle, then Locked Room Scenario is for you. If you have a particular problem with dark, confined spaces and mysteries in general, then you’ll probably find it deeply frustrating. Luckily for us, we’ve always been more partial to questions than answers. The entire installation has a giant question mark hanging over it, which is never entirely lifted, as the enigma spills out into the surrounding streets. Who runs this place? Where did everybody go? And just what are we here to see?
Ryan Gander has curated an anti-exhibition, where more is kept hidden than is put on display. Where every found object, from coffee cup to door handle to scrap of newsprint is ripe for scrutiny; works of art/ clues/ rubbish? You decide. This Marie Celeste of a building, with its sharp smell of emulsion paint and forgotten Classic FM soundtrack, makes trespassers of all who enter. Or should that be voyeurs — compelled, as we are, to try the door, peek through the crack in the wood, peer through the keyhole?
Whether you study every meticulous detail for post-modern reference, or charge about like a character from Spooks, your patience will be rewarded with flashes of meaning and moments of insight. But unlike the traditional Who Dunnit? there will be no full reveals, no easy pay offs. Go with a partner in crime and with time to spare.
By Kirsty McQuire
Ryan Gander: Locked Room Scenario runs 30 August - 23 October 2011 (open Tuesday - Sunday) at Londonewcastle Depot at 1 - 3 Wenlock Rd London N1 7SL. Tickets £4, booking essential (quick).
Photographer Julian Abrams. Commissioned and produced by Artangel with the support of Londonewcastle and the Lisson Gallery