In his video installations, Douglas Gordon (born 1966) plays with the cinematic techniques of duration, doubling and mirroring to explore the dynamic between audience and image. Play Dead; Real Time was filmed at an empty Gagosian Gallery in New York, where the artist arranged to have Minnie, a four-year-old Indian elephant, brought in to perform a series of tricks – ‘play dead’, ‘stand still’, ‘walk around’, ‘back up’, ‘get up’ and ‘beg’ – on the command of her off-screen trainer. The footage showing Minnie’s sequences of tricks is simultaneously presented in a front and a rear life-sized projection and on a monitor, with each one depicting the same event from a range of perspectives.
The viewer is presented with an opportunity to see the animal with an intimacy and perspective that are very rarely offered. For Gordon, Play Dead; Real Time sits between ‘a nature film and a medical documentary, to observe the subject in a way that could be used for a practical purpose but also had a very certain aesthetic. One of the beautiful things about film and video is that it can imbue a sense or sensibility that doesn’t actually physically exist.’
This display has been curated by Carmen Julia.
Image: Douglas Gordon, Play Dead; Real Time (2003)
© Douglas Gordon