Douglas Gordon - 2020

Belongs to...

Born in 1966 in Glasgow (Scotland), Douglas Gordon lives and works in Berlin (Germany), Glasgow (Scotland) and Paris (France). Gordon’s practice encompasses video, film, installation, sculpture, photography and text. Through his work, Gordon investigates the human conditions like memory, passage of time, ambiguity and the disruption of the normal as well as the binary nature and the tendency to split things into opposites: black / white, good / evil.
Gordon’s work has been exhibited globally, in major solo exhibitions including at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus, Denmark (2019), Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand (2018), Prisons of the Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy (2017), K20, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany (2017), the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2014), the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2013), the TATE Britain in London (2010), the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2006), the National Gallery of Scotland (2006), the Hayward Gallery in London (2002) as well as the MOCA in Los Angeles (2001) and the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin (1999). His film works have been invited to the Festival de Cannes, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Venice Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Festival del Film Locarno, New York Film Festival, among many others. Gordon received the 1996 Turner Prize. In 2017, he presented I had nowhere to go at Documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel.

Belongs to..

Douglas Gordon’s new paintings utilise acetone printing to transfer provocative softcore images from early 1960s issues of Playboy magazine onto burnt, unlevelled, and asymmetrical canvases marked by biomorphic drips of wax, acrylic paint, and unknown liquids. The transfers dilute the visibility and definition of the images to the point they become a semi-transparent superfluous tissue evaporating through the interlaced threads of the canvas that both consumes and materialises them. The new paintings juxtapose the cyclical movement of time conducted by the intermittent appearance and disappearance of the images with a sense of change and extension implied by the vague contours and positions of the canvases and the flowing drips of wax and paint.

The unpredictable topography is further intensified when observing the mirror panels against which the canvases are placed. In almost every work segments of mirror exceed the unravelled edges of the canvas or are revealed through holes in the canvas. Incorporated into the topography of the works, the mirrors expose the backside of the images and canvases as well as reflecting the dynamic scenery in front of them. The mirrors unveil the void concealed within the works, the void they emerge from and are in danger of falling into. They create an illusion of an abysmal space behind the surface which lends the images the quality of an ex-nihilo, primal emergence. In addition, being an effect of a direct, simulatively magical transfer of an image onto a surface, Gordon’s new paintings unavoidably allude to the legend of the veil of St. Veronica, the miraculous imprint of the face of Jesus Christ onto a cloth, and thus reveal their affinity to archetypical and primal models of image making.

Mirrors and fire is a persistent motif in many of Gordon’s previous works, such as the ongoing series ‘Self Portrait of You + Me’ (begun 2007). In this series, burnt remnants of Andy Warhol’s Marylins and Jackies are attached to mirror panels of the same size, which temporarily capture portrait of the viewer in a sequential process of evocation and elimination.

Gordon’s complicity in the cultural archive not only refolds the fabric of collective memories, but it also harnesses historical entities as aspects of his own biography and artistic practice. Consequently, Paradise reference to issues of Playboy from the early 1960s not only throws us back to the time of the sexual revolution, it also seeks to examine the scope of erotic imagery in the years prior to the artist’s birth, the sexual climate in which his parents could have been drawn to conceive him.

The notion of retroactive / future internalisation of the outer world is also manifested in the titles of the new paintings. The work is titled ‘Belongs to…’ When sold, the gap is filled in and the name of the buyer becomes part of the title of the acquired work. As such, the works regain the status of a personalized experience, which, like the original issues of Playboy they stem from, establishes a close connection with one particular individual at a time.


Douglas Gordon






98 x 148 cm (unframed) - 99,8 x 149,8 x 5 cm (framed)




Courtesy of the artist and Dvir Gallery, Brussels

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