starts its new cultural season in October a little later than normal due to renovation works with the big retrospective exhibition of Canadian artist Stan Douglas. Stan Douglas (b. 1960, Vancouver) is best known for his visually absorbing and sophisticated films and video installations. However, over the last decennia he has also created a significant body of photographic work.
WIELS brings both together in this topical survey entitled Interregnum, a title alluding to a historical moment of suspension and in-between-ness. Featuring two elaborate film installations accompanied by selections from three photographic series, the exhibition reveals Douglass conceptual and technical mastery of filmic forms, which represent and render perceivable time, history, and memory.
A world premiere at WIELS
Douglass new six-screen installation The Secret Agent (2015) shown at WIELS for the first time transposes the storyline of Joseph Conrads eponymous spy novel to the context of Portugals 1974 Carnation Revolution, a liberatory moment that was quickly confronted by the logics of terror of the Cold War. The film loosely follows Conrads storyline, a primer for popular spy literature.
Douglas has produced many works that focus on popular media and culture during the years when Afrobeat and free jazz shared a momentum of liberation. For example, his video Luanda-Kinshasa (2013) hypnotically stages a fusion jazz recording session in 1975 as a random loop. The large-scale photographic tableaux of his Disco Angola (2012) series adopt the documentary, reportage style covering Portugals Colonial War. They depict stylistically credible scenes of that turbulent history, generating questions about how historical narratives are constructed.
Other photographic series uncover urban countercultural collisions with the politics of policing in Crowds and Riots (2008), or staged anecdotal news stories with a fictive snapshot aesthetic in the series Midcentury Studio (201011).