by Sukanya GargMay 12, 2020
Scottish video artist Douglas Gordon combines textual works, photography, music, and most importantly, video installations in his most extensive solo exhibition in Northern Europe ever, in the show In My Shadow, at the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark.
In an interview in Berlin this year, Gordon remarked, “The popular idea that we have a little devil on our shoulder and a little angel on the other, absolutely fascinated me when I was a child; the thought of what might happen if the angel slips in one ear, and the devil slips out of the other? Who would influence who?”
The quote only reconfirms the artist’s constant fascination with hope and despair, dark and light, a key underlying theme of his exhibition in Denmark. For the artist, his journey into film, moving image, and video art began as an experience of the once forbidden. He watched films that he was forbidden to as a child. Later, as he grew up, the question of what makes a thing forbidden irked him and he wondered why it was so. The search for an answer to the latter question resulted in an exploration of what people consider to be the dark side, or the side one is often forbidden to explore. In addition, Gordon is obsessed with the mental state of human beings, which seems to be a recurring theme in some of his films.
Gordon has always been fascinated with finding different personalities within the same person at different points of time, a theme he came to observe in his own self over the course of his life. A lot of his artistic work, therefore, revolves around contradictions and variations in personality, and therefore exploring the divine, the demonic and the in-between nuances amongst people’s personalities.
A celebrated video artist, Gordon came into the limelight in the 1990s when he was awarded the Turner Prize in 1996, the Premio 2000 at the Venice Biennale in 1997, and subsequently, the Guggenheim Hugo Boss Prize in 1998.
The exhibition at ARoS includes 12 installations, photographic works, text and music. It is being held in the gallery space at level 1, which houses the work Something Between My Mouth and Your Ear (1994), and the entrance to the exhibition. In a completely blue space, 30 different music tracks are being played, tracks that Douglas Gordon imagines his mother listening to when she was expecting him. Moreover, at each level, textual works by Gordon adorn the walls and windows of the museum. In addition, the exhibition features works such as Phantom (2010), Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (2006), Something Between My Mouth and Your Ear (1994), Play Dead; Real Time (2003) and Through a Looking Glass (1999).
Speaking about the exhibition, Erlend G. Høyersten, museum director, ARoS, said, “We haven’t seen an exhibition of this magnitude and nature from Douglas Gordon for many years, so it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to be able to present this extensive exhibition here in Aarhus.”
(The exhibition is on display at the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark until February 16, 2020.)