With the major solo exhibition "Douglas Gordon" (19 November 201125 March 2012), the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst
presents an artist who is one of the most important and most influential of his generation. While he gained renown above all for his films and large video installations, his oeuvre also comprises photographs, texts, sculptures and sound installations. Douglas Gordon (b. 1966 in Glasgow) has been a professor at the Städelschule in Frankfurt since 2010.
The MMK has in its possession one of Gordon's magnum operathe video installation Play Dead; Real Time (2003) as well as a number of other photo and video works. These holdings now form the point of departure for the first major survey in Europe since Gordon's presentation at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in 2007. Apart from installations rich in imagery, for example Straight to Hell and No Way Back (both of 2011) and recent additions to the Self-Portrait of You + Me series, the exhibition will also present three further large-scale video installations.
The artist's latest work, Henry Rebel, carried out jointly with director James Franco and the young actor Henry Hopper, will be premiered by the show. Henry Rebel is a major video installation executed this year as part of the Rebel project initiated by James Franco. All of the artists participating in the project realized works revolving around different aspects of Nicholas Ray's film Rebel Without a Cause of 1955. In the video installation to be featured by the MMK exhibition, Gordon interprets two scenes, which were part of the original screenplay but were never shot. For these scenes, they were fortunate in being able to cast Henry Hopper, the son of the late actor Dennis Hopper, who played in the original movie by Nicholas Ray. This is a circumstance which brings the inner logic of this highly complex masterpiecein which Gordon records the young actor's performance on filmfull circle.
With his analyses of the images of our collective memory and everyday culture, Gordon exposes fundamental patterns of perception. His works frequently revolve around phenomena of doubling and mirroring: the couple, the double, light and dark, guilt and justice. k.364 is one of Gordon's most recent film installations. The title stands for the number assigned by the Köchel catalogue to the Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola composed by Mozart in Vienna in 1779. Having become acquainted with this work of chamber music in Poznań (Poland), Gordon organized another performance of it with the well-known musicians Avri Levitan (viola) and Roi Shiloah (violin) and Polish Radio's Amadeus Chamber Orchestra. With a camera team, Gordon accompanied the two musicians on their journey from Berlin to Warsaw by way of Poznań and recorded the concert in Warsaw. The resulting material served as the basis for the film and installation now to be presented to the Frankfurt public for the first time. The two musicians' conversations on their way to Poland reveal that their pasts, and those of their parents, are complexly interwoven with German-Polish relations, and above all with the history of the Polish Jews during World War II.
The legendary film portrait Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, made in cooperation with the French artist Philippe Parreno, will be installed at the MMK on eighteen separate screens, likewise for the first time. The footage was taken with seventeen cameras set up around the football field. In the version to be presented at the MMK, the entire material will be screened on the individual monitors synchronously and in combination with the simultaneous television recording of the match.
Gordon's shows are never limited to a single medium. For the exhibition at the MMK, the works will be assembled in the museum's architecturally compelling interiors in such a way as to create a concentrated and impressive survey of this versatile artist's oeuvre, and a network of reciprocal elucidations and references.
The accompanying exhibition catalogue contains a conversation between Douglas Gordon and James Franco, essays by Michael Fried, Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith and Klaus Görner, and an introduction by Susanne Gaensheimer. The richly illustrated, 234-page volume was published by the Kerber Verlag Bielefeld.
"Douglas Gordon" at the MMK is being carried out in cooperation with the "Ross Birrell/David Harding and Douglas Gordon" show at the Portikus, Frankfurt. The two presentations will open simultaneously at the MMK and the Portikus