Stan Douglas and Douglas Gordon

Stan Douglas and Douglas Gordon: Double Vision

February 11, 1999 - April 2, 2000




Press Release


February 11, 1999-April 2, 2000

Feb 11, 1999

Dia Center for the Arts is currently presenting new installations by Stan Douglas and Douglas Gordon in an exhibition titled "Double Vision." The two works are on view on the second floor of Dia's galleries at 548 West 22nd Street through June 13, 1999. This exhibition will reopen in Fall 1999. Please note that Dia is now open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, 12 noon to 6 pm.

Stan Douglas presents a new video work entitled Win, Place, or Show, which is projected on a double screen and takes as its point of departure the fundamental transformation of civic space in North America during the postwar era, initiated at an institutional level under the rubric of "urban renewal." In Win, Place, or Show, two dock workers share a tenth-floor, one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver. The endlessly looping, six-minute work chronicles an antagonistic conversation that flares up on a wet day-off. After erupting into physical violence, it then lapses into weary irritation, only to be rekindled into a smoldering verbal friction.

Douglas shot the scene simultaneously from twelve different points of view. When installed, a computer cuts the takes together in real time, generating an almost endless series of montages; for each time the scene repeats, it repeats differently. As a result, the viewer's identification shifts from one antagonist to another, to both, to neither. "But the work is less concerned with the narration of the event than with the space of its unfolding," Douglas argues, "like the obsessive remembrance and reconsideration of a traumatic incident in one's life that cannot be resolved because its true cause was elsewhere, and remains unavailable to the space of memory."

While Stan Douglas uses time in the guise of history and historical memory, Douglas Gordon often shifts and manipulates time scales, starting with found material, such as a feature-length film. Gordon's new work, left is right and right is wrong and left is wrong and right is right, takes as its point of departure a little-known film made in 1949 by Hollywood director Otto Preminger titled Whirlpool. Gordon's editing separates all the odd-numbered frames onto one video disc, the even onto a second: black leader occupies the space of the missing frames in each. When the two are projected side by side as an installation the one on the left is reversed. The soundtrack of Preminger's film is treated similarly.

The resulting stroboscopic flicker engenders a strong visual impact, mimicking the act of hypnosis on which Whirlpool's plot turns. Psychic disorder, the core theme of this narrative, is a subject of central importance in Gordon's art for it provides the occasion, in works based sometimes in fact, sometimes in fiction, for a study of fundamental existential dilemmas; between good and evil, freedom and necessity, or existence and nonexistence. Gordon instantiates this dialectical tension, drawing it out by slowing down the projection, or by doubling it, or through a mirror inversion, or repetition, or more complex techniques as found in this, his latest work. By means of such disarmingly simple means he gives incisive, aphoristic form to psychological trauma, moral predicament, and the passage from one mental state to its pathological contrary.

Stan Douglas was born in 1960 in Vancouver, where he currently lives and works. In 1995 Douglas was in the 1995 Carnegie International and the 1995 Whitney Biennial, and in 1997 he was included in Sculptur Projekte, Münster, as well as Documenta X in Kassel.

Douglas Gordon was born in Glasgow in 1966. He now lives and works in Glasgow and Cologne. Gordon was the 1996 recipient of Britain's Turner Prize and in 1997 was awarded Premio 2000 at the Venice Biennial. He was included in Sculptur Projekte, Münster, in 1997 and was the 1998 recipient of the Guggenheim Museum's Hugo Boss Prize.

Support for this project has been provided by the Lannan Foundation and the Dia Art Council, the major annual support group of Dia Center for the Arts; with additional assistance from the New York State Council on the Arts; the British Council; agnès b., New York and Paris; and the British Columbia Arts Council.

Dia Center for the Arts is a tax-exempt charitable organization. Established in 1974, the organization has become one of the largest in the United States dedicated to contemporary art and contemporary culture. In fulfilling this commitment, Dia sustains diverse programming in visual arts, poetry, education, and critical discourse and debate.

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For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, or 212 293 5518

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