Douglas Gordon’s specially commissioned installation, Black Burns, will be a response to the full-length marble statue of the poet Robert Burns, which stands in The Great Hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Created by John Flaxman in 1824 and originally housed in Thomas Hamilton’s imposing Greek revivalist Burns Monument to the south of Edinburgh’s Calton Hill, the sculpture now occupies pride of place in the heart of the building designed to enshrine Scotland’s greatest figures. Gordon’s work often takes as its subject something familiar (the Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho is one famous example) and explores the ways in which memories and expectations surrounding it can be thrown off-balance by subtle interventions in the way it is presented and displayed.
Tension between opposing impulses, is a major fascination of Douglas Gordon. His work has often drawn inspiration from Scottish literature to explore a split in the wider Scottish psyche, which he sees reflected in the alter-egos, doubles and dopplegänger that proliferate in classic texts such as Robert Louis Stephenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) and The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg (1824).
Image: John Flaxman, Robert Burns, 1759-1796. Poet, 1824
About Douglas Gordon
Douglas Gordon was born in 1966 and now lives and works in Berlin and his home city of Glasgow. His career has been marked by major awards (including the Turner and Hugo Boss Prizes, and the Premio 2000 at the Venice Biennale), and by exhibitions in museums and galleries across the world. In recognition of his contribution to the arts, he was recently awarded the title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, the highest civil honour awarded by the French Government, and is only the second Scot, after Sir Sean Connery, to receive this honour.