Sunday 15 February 2015


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.—Douglas Gordon
We all know Douglas Gordon’s Psycho (1993) but I had never seen his PHANTOM (2011) so I was glad to take advantage of his New York showing of it in a small but - location location - key corner space on Park Avenue. Happily this new Gagosian gallery has a big window and Gordon took advantage of this by playing this impressive video 24/7. Passers by no doubt surprised, enthralled, disturbed - or not - by the silent gaze of a tar-blackened eye slowly slowly blinking. 

The eye belongs to singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright who provides the memorable, hauntingly beautiful, accompanying music.  Filmed over a few minutes employing a high-speed Phantom camera, it translates into slow-mo echoing melodramatic performances by stars of the silent screen. On stage 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.
Wainwright's requiem-style soundtrack for this installation, is his 2010 album All days are nights. It includes the apt Who Are You New York?  New Yorkers are notoriously hurried - but also inquiring - so maybe they can slow down here.   

This coincided with Gordon's major new installation “tears become... streams become...” which was on view at the NY Park Avenue Armory from December 2014–January 4, 2015. 
For a review of this see my Herald piece: 

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