Many of Gander’s artistic preoccupations appear in The Boy Who Always Looked Up: design, play, creativity, imagination, or what he recently called in his Paris exhibition Make every show like it’s your last (2013) at Le Plateaux, ‘imagineering’. An imagineering state — a portmanteau, in which the first part carries the sense of imagination, and the second a compound of engineering and mountaineering — is characterised by lateral, connective thinking. Imagineers recognise the propensity of things; their creative thinking is not inhibited by disciplinarity. Recently Gander told me how he is drawn to “designers who are pioneers and explorers.” So Goldfinger, then, we might assume, embodies the imagineering spirit. In fact there are a whole set of modern (and it should be said contemporary) imagineer-designers to which Gander is drawn, including Bruno Munari, Gerrit Rietveld, Charles and Ray Eames, and Le Corbusier, each of whom he has, in the past, made work in response to.
Among Gander’s greatest works are the various Rietveld Reconstructions (2005 – 2006), a series of sculptural compositions, made by children, using eighteen pieces of wood originally constructed as an Easy Chair from the Crate Furniture series by Gerrit Rietveld. Originally this ‘poor furniture’ could be produced cheaply with low-quality wood of the kind often used for packing crates (hence the name Krat). The crate chair’s formal simplicity, without joints or grooves, could be assembled quickly with a few screws. “Traditionally,” Gander writes:
"...we think of the modernist aesthetic as borne from ethics, or at least an explicit set of values, function above form, etc. So how does that translate into the idea of an artwork that exudes these values but is not necessarily produced under them?"