About this artwork

This video work depicts a fly in close-up fixed to a table top by its wings. We see the fly twitching intermittently as it struggles and eventually dies. Here Gordon portrays himself as a sadist where the viewer is implicated. The artist has said his use of flies in his works represents “something that we kill everyday” yet “seeing them like this in a museum becomes a much more distressing game to play”. The term 'film noir', used in the title, refers to the stylish Hollywood crime thrillers of the 1940s and the 1950s, which is generally associated with low-key black and white visual style. Many of the defining characteristics of film noir such as moral ambivalence, guilt and death reoccur in Gordon's work.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Film Noir (Fly)
  • date created:
  • materials:
    Video, 1 monitor, black and white 29 minutes 52 seconds
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Presented by the artist 2012
  • accession number:
  • gallery:
  • subject:
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms
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Douglas Gordon

Douglas Gordon

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