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Laughing-Crying (from the portfolio Travaux Publics, Public Works)
© Douglas Gordon/VG Bildkunst, Bonn 2012

Reference URL

Laughing-Crying (from the portfolio Travaux Publics, Public Works) 1996

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Douglas Gordon frequently uses doubles and mirroring in his work, with the effect of confusing and undermining obvious meaning. In this work, two extreme emotional states are contradicted, with the phrase being mirrored upside down and back to front. This visual wordplay encourages the viewer to question language and calls into question the identity of the ‘I’. Gordon has explained: ‘I like to construct self-destructive systems, or mechanisms, which can only lead towards a multiplicity of meanings, a series of contradictory interpretations.’ The ‘Travaux Publics’ (Public Works) portfolio explores different ways of using text and language in art. Each artist made a proposal for a work which was shown in a public space as well as being reproduced in the portfolio.

Glossary Open


A group of art works, by one or more artists, issued or housed together in a portfolio case. This often applies to photographs or prints, and portfolios often include a title page or introductory text. The term is also used to describe a group of works which exemplify an artist's work overall.



  • Acc. No. GMA 4192 H
  • Medium Screenprint on paper
  • Size 40.00 x 50.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1997