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.
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, through January 4, 2015.
A conjurer of collective memory and perceptual surprise, Gordon infuses a combination of humor and trepidation into his diverse body of work—which spans video and film, sound, photographic objects, and texts—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 makeup, weeping, and glaring back at the viewer, echoing melodramatic performances by stars of the silent screen. Onstage 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 forgoes any specific narrative in favour of 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.
Gordon’s major new installation, tears become . . . streams become . . ., will be on view at the Park Avenue Armory from December 9, 2014, through January 4, 2015. Ten collaborative performances by acclaimed pianist Hélène Grimaud are scheduled through December 21.
Making Eyes: Douglas Gordon
Douglas Gordon and Rufus Wainwright collaborated to produce afflictive, slow-motion projections to accompany Wainwright’s performances during his 2010 All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu tour.
Katrina Brown discusses the importance of Douglas Gordon’s 24 Hour Psycho (1993) and some of the films that followed, touching on threads that run throughout the artist’s career.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2018
The Spring 2018 Gagosian Quarterly with a cover by Ed Ruscha is now available for order.
Douglas Gordon: I had nowhere to go
Featuring an extensive interview with Douglas Gordon on the process of making his 2016 film I had nowhere to go: Portrait of a displaced person, this video, produced by Berlin Art Link, includes clips of Jonas Mekas and revealing anecdotes about the creation of the film.
Douglas Gordon and Morgane Tschiember
Douglas Gordon and Morgane Tschiember’s installation As close as you can for as long as it lasts, presented during Elevation 1049: Avalanche in Gstaad, Switzerland.
Extended through February 3, 2018
November 14, 2017–February 3, 2018
West 21st Street, New York
I had nowhere to go: Portrait of a displaced person
October 3–7, 2017
Britannia Street, London