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Gagosian Quarterly

December 12, 2014

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. The clip below, Sonnet 10, is one of twelve works that played on stage. Nowness reported on the collaboration leading up to the global tour.

“When most I wink, then do my eyes best see.” So erudite singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright (son to Loudon, brother to Martha) cites Shakespeare’s sonnets as he rhapsodizes about his collaboration with Douglas Gordon, the darkly inventive Scottish film artist responsible for the super slo-mo Hitchcock tribute 24 Hour Psycho and epic football film Zidane (featuring music from Glasgow’s foremost post-rockers Mogwai). The duo conspired to produce these haunting visuals, in which Wainwright flutters his kohl-splashed eye for a camera shooting at 1,000 frames per second, after his partner Jörn Weisbrodt (creative director at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center) suggested they work together. The film, initially designed to accompany Wainwright’s 2010 album All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, was inspired by the record’s titular temptress—first immortalized in the plays of Frank Wedekind, now a personal symbol for Wainwright—but soon “dissolved and disintegrated,” he says, leaving only his eye slowly blinking in a sea of blackness. “It’s become very simple and very, very powerful and tragic also,” says Wainwright, who felt an instant connection with Gordon when they first met several years ago. “He has this strange immediacy and blunt honesty that instantly endears you to him. He really sees through whatever’s going on, to your core. And I definitely had that experience with him.”

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