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Founded in 1979, October Gallery, in central London, exhibits innovative, contemporary art from around the world. For over 40 years, October Gallery has pioneered the development of the Transvangarde - the trans-cultural avant-garde.
  • Gandalf Gavan. photo © Jonathan Greet 2011
  • Gandalf Gavan. photo © Jonathan Greet 2011


Gandalf Gavan

Born in 1975 in Berlin, Gavan lived and worked in New York and Mexico. He studied at the Repin Academy of the Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia, also Bard College and Columbia University in New York, where he also worked as an adjunct professor of art, teaching printmaking. He has exhibited in Europe (Manchester, Berlin, Geneva), South America, the U.S. and Mexico.

His works are rendered via a prolific use of media - painting, drawing, glass, neon, anamorphic mirror, photography, ceramics and weaving.

A formalist by training, Gavan’s works project a dazzling energy, the shapes and forms are both playful and exuberant,
“I am attracted to art that has that sense of humour and tension between seriousness, ambivalence and play.”
(The Brooklyn Rail).

The new works created in the artist’s studio in Oaxaca, Mexico, utilize traditional local techniques; Large-scale paintings are treated with two layers of gypsum, then lime (from local lime stone), tinted with earth pigments from Oaxaca. Applying nopal (cactus) juice to bind the medium, Gavan, then burnishes the surface of the works with plastic bags. In the past, the Zapotecs used stones. This fascinating process was traditionally used on temples. Like fellow artist Rachid Koraïchi, Gavan actively involves local artisans’- the one felt woven piece is produced in collaboration with textile workers from the town of Teotitlån del Valle, while black polished (raku) ceramics also reference Mexican tradition.

Gavan subverts the history of portraiture as representation of self. His drawings on paper allude to self-identifying thoughts, referencing knot structures and Sunni calligraphy. Neon rods represent self-identity, strategically positioned within space to create ‘a line’ of conversation, a dialogue that alters with the perspective of the viewer. The artist enables an exploration through reflective surfaces of paint, as well as warped mirrors, so the viewer is partially reflected in the work and becomes an active participant. Attempting to remove the baggage of ready-made self-image, Gavan keeps the experience as simple and direct as possible. An athletic and charismatic presence at nearly two metres tall, he describes, “an enlarged mode of thinking about how perception takes place within your own subjectivity: how you put something together within your own perception and how you put something together as compared to the rest of the world.”

His 2003 installation in Oaxaca, Daedalus’s Song, “created an impossibly beautiful sight, a canopy of thousands of mirrored glass orbs hung over a historical street in Oaxaca, Mexico” (Glass Quarterly). The Miami Herald called the installation “blown glass rain suspended over Oaxaca.“

Gavan’s last show in New York (Larissa Goldstone, 2010), was dedicated to the memory of his mother, painter and muralist Zara Kriegstein. Kriegstein was Artistic Director of the October Gallery from 1979- 1980.



(S)(p)(l)ace III

Knot Nots


Les Marquis



Si, Ar(e)t(e)




(S)(p)(l)ace I


Miami Lines & (S)(p)(l)ace II

Cali Sally

I for You for I, and?

Fuck, for Fuck’s Sake

Quick to Wit

Lassitudinal Convolition





The Mezcalero Series
episode 13

The Mezcalero Series
episode 11

The Mezcalero Series
episode 10

The Mezcalero Series
episode 8

The Mezcalero Series
episode 15

The Mezcalero Series
episode 12

The Mezcalero Series
episode 5

The Mezcalero Series
episode 17

The Mezcalero Series
episode 1

The Mezcalero Series
episode 16

The Mezcalero Series
episode 9

The Mezcalero Series
episode 2

The Mezcalero Series
episode 14

Gandalf Gavan Biography

Born in 1975 in Berlin,  Germany. Gavan lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, USA

2005   MFA, Columbia University, New York, NY
1998   BFA, Bard College, Annandale, NY
1997   Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM, Summer Program in Sculpture
1995-6   Repin Academy of the Arts, St. Petersburg, Russia
Selected Solo shows
2011   Knots, October Gallery, London, UK
2010   Teaching a Chicken How to Fly III, Larissa Goldston Gallery, New York, NY
2009   Pollos, Peligros y Otras Cárceles II, Corporación Andina de Fomento Gallery, Caracas,Venezuela
2008   Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, Winter Park, FL
2007   Incorporated Dementions, Bertrand and Gruner, Geneva, Switzerland
    Infinite Affinities, P.S.1, Long Island City, NY
    Larissa Goldston Gallery, New York, NY
    Expo, N2 Galeria, Barcelona, Spain
2003   Son para Daedalos, MACO (Museo de Arte Comtemporaneo Oaxaca), Oaxaca, Mexico
Sellected Group Exhibitions
2010   Zegache, Casa Lamm, Mexico City, Mexico
2009   Party at Chris's House, Curated by Phong Bui, Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
    State of the Art: New York, Urbis, Manchester, UK
    Fresh from Chelsea, University Gallery and Grinter Gallery, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
2008   Stable Scrawl, Larissa Goldston Gallery, New York, NY
    erraUnFirma, Caren Golden Fine Art, New York, NY
    Cutaway, Anna Kustera, New York, NY
2007   CECUT, En TijuanArte Art Fair, Tiajuana, Mexico
    National and International Projects, P.S.1, Long Island City, NY
2006   Eo Ipso, Match, New York, NY
    Escaping New York, Curators without Borders, Berlin, Germany
    Symposium II, Hotel Pupik, Schrattenberg, Austria
    Joan Mitchell MFA Grant Recipients, Cue Foundation, New York, NY
2005   Curvaceous, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY
2004   Merry Merry, Side Show Gallery, Williamsburg, NY
    Succeeding Where the Hippies Failed, Neiman Gallery, New York, NY
    FreiRaume, Freistil E.V., Berlin, Germany
    Re: New Frontiers in Creativity, Columbia University, New York, NY
    The Thomas Edison Project, LMCC & the Builders Association, New York, NY
    Freehand, Marvelli Labs, Brooklyn, NY
    Scope Circle for Emerging Artist Nomination, Scope Art Fair, NewYork, NY
    The Book, Neiman Gallery, New York, NY
    Fresh,Tilton/Kustera Gallery, New York, NY
2003   Peace, Side Show Gallery, Williamsburg, NY
    Kingston Sculpture Biennial, Kingston, NY
    Out of Line, Side Show Gallery, Williamsburg, NY
2002   Merry, Merry, Side Show Gallery, Williamsburg, NY
    Bon a Tirer, The Front Gallery, Dumbo, NY
2001   Merry, Side Show Gallery, Williamsburg, NY
    The Worst of Gordon Pym Continued, Printed Matter, New York, NY
    Fantastic, Get Real Art, New York, NY
    Clean, Get Real Art, New York, NY
    We Love Our Customers, Hungarian Embassy, New York, NY
    Symbiotic Dialogue, Goliath, Brooklyn, NY
2000   The Toy Show, four and a half projects, Brooklyn, NY
1999   The Window Project, Downtown Albuquerque, Albuquerque, NM
    Muestra Pictorica Colectiva de la Sociedad de Artistas Del Cusco, Museo De Arte Contemporaneo, Cusco, Peru
    New Artists from Greenpoint, James Fuentes Gallery, New York, NY
Friends, GRG Art Space, Brooklyn, NY
    GRG, GRG Art Space, Brooklyn, NY
Public Works
2004   Outdoor sculpture-installation at Collegio La Salle, Oaxaca, Mexico
Awards & Honours
2006   Mortimer Frank Travelling Fellowship
2005   Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant
2004   Scope Art Fair Circle Nominee

Bui, Phong. In Conversation: Gandalf Gavan with Phong Bui, The Brooklyn Rail (May 2010)
Young, Jessica Bryce. Bright young things, Orlando Weekly (January 27, 2010)

Bernstein, Fred A. Look, Kids! A Secret Room!, The New York Times (April 19, 2009)

Bishop, Philip. Review, Orlando Sentinel (March 23, 2008)
De Looz, Pierre Alexander. Los Angeles/New York: Ball Nogues & Gandalf Gavan -- On the threshold of art and architecture, East and West Coasts connect, PIN-UP (F/W 2007-2008)
Kuntz, Melissa, Susanna Heller and Gandalf Gavan at Sideshow, Art in America (March 2004)
Gandalf Gavan, Daedalus's Song, Glass (Winter 2003-04)

Garcia, Julio Cesar Sanchez, Gandalf Gavan exhibe Son para Dedalos, Tiempo (July 31, 2003)

Avendano, Olga Rosario, Blown-glass 'rain' suspended over Oaxaca, The Miami Herald (July 2003)
Rosas, Blanca Gonzalez, La artensania mexicana en el arte contemporaneo, Proceso (July 2003)
Arrazola, Victor Ruiz, Lluvia de vidrio soplado en el centro historico de Oaxac, LaJornada (July 2003)
Trejo, Gabriela Lopez, Lluvia de vidrio soplado, en Oaxaca, Tiempo (July 2003)
Teaching Experience
2004   Adjunct Professor for Printmaking, Columbia University
2004-5   Teachers Assistant for Printmaking and Sculpture for Professors Tomas Vu, Carl Fudge, Patty Lee Becker, Ohad Meromi, Columbia University
1996-98   Teachers Assistant in Sculpture for Professors Judy Pfaff, Bill Tucker, Bard College.
October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7242 7367