Douglas Gordon

11 Dec 2014 - 17 Jan 2015

Douglas Gordon
Installation view
© lost but found
Photo by Rob McKeever
11 December 2014 – 17 January 2015

I think it's supposed to be about provoking enough of a memory that people take it away and do their own thing with it. For me, artwork... is something that you should be able to take away—you don't have to be present in front of it, and that's the potency of the artwork when it works.
—Douglas Gordon

Gagosian New York is pleased to present Douglas Gordon's Phantom (2011), coinciding with “tears become... streams become...,” his large-scale installation on view at the Park Avenue Armory from December 9, 2014–January 4, 2015.

A conjurer of collective memory and perceptual surprise, Gordon's tools include commodities and mechanisms of everyday life. Into a diverse body of work—which spans video and film, sound, photographic objects, and texts—he infuses a combination of humor and trepidation to recalibrate reactions to the familiar. Key examples include 24 Hour Psycho (1993), in which he slowed down Alfred Hitchcock's legendary film into a full day's duration, attenuating the horror until any sensation of suspense ceased to exist; and the feature film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (2006, with Philippe Parreno) in which multiple cameras tracked every action and emotion of the French soccer star during a decisive game.

In Phantom (2011), Gordon, collaborating with singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, examines grief and longing in a sonic and visual requiem. Expanding upon his use of portraiture as a tool for investigating the human condition, Gordon employs slow-motion film produced with a high-speed Phantom camera. The film focuses on Wainright's eye—blackened with make-up, weeping, and glaring back at the viewer, echoing melodramatic performances by stars of the silent screen. On stage in front of the screen, a baby grand piano stands over another piano that has been burnt to ashes—a recurring symbol for Gordon that here might allude to the cyclical nature of life. Meanwhile Wainright's voice, accompanied by resigned piano chords, permeates the space during the daytime, while in the evening his silent gaze looks out plaintively at passersby on Park Avenue. The death of Wainwright's mother inspired the 2010 album All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, the soundtrack for this installation, and its opening track, “Who Are You New York?,” is a direct engagement with visitors and their surroundings. Gordon foregoes any specific narrative for poignant emotional triggers that sharpen over the passing minutes, transforming the gallery into an afflictive mise-en-scène that resonates differently with the experiences of each viewer.

Douglas Gordon is the recipient of the 1996 Turner Prize, the 1997 Venice Biennale's Premio 2000 award, the 1998 Hugo Boss Prize awarded by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the 2008 Roswitha Haftmann Prize, and the 2012 Käthe Kollwitz Prize. The film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival before screenings at numerous international venues. k.364 premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2010, and Henry Rebel: Drawing and Burning premiered at Art Basel's Art Unlimited in 2012. Gordon's work has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions, including Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2001); Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona (2006); “Timeline,” Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006, traveled to MALBA Colección Costantini, Buenos Aires, through 2007); “Pretty much every word written, spoken, heard, overheard from 1989...,” Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Rovereto, Italy (2006); “Superhumanatural,” National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh (2006); “Between Darkness and Light: Works 1989–2007,” Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2007); “Blood, Sweat, Tears,” DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague (2009); Tate Britain, London (2010); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2011); “I am also...,” Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2013); Everything is Nothing Without Its Reflection—A Photographic Pantomime,” Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2013); “Phantom," Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2014); “the only way out is the only way in: Douglas Gordon,” Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Victoria (2014); Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2014); and “Pretty much every film and video work from about 1992 until now,” Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris (2014).

Gordon's major new installation “tears become... streams become...” will be on view at the Park Avenue Armory from December 9, 2014–January 4, 2015. Ten collaborative performances by acclaimed pianist Hélène Grimaud are scheduled through December 21.

Gordon lives and works in Berlin and Glasgow.

Tags: Douglas Gordon, Käthe Kollwitz, Joan Miró, Philippe Parreno