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Survey of Stan Douglas's photographic works on view at David Zwirner in New York
Stan Douglas, Bumtown, 2015. Digital chromogenic print mounted on Dibond aluminum, 59 1/2 x 119 inches (151.1 x 302.3 cm). Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York.


NEW YORK, NY.- David Zwirner is presenting a survey of Stan Douglas’s photographic works spanning his career. Held in conjunction with the United States premiere of the artist’s new film installation The Secret Agent, the exhibition on view at the gallery in New York shows significant series of works from the late 1980s to the present, including Television Spots (1987), Malabar People (2011), among others.

The exhibition also marks the New York debut of Douglas’s most recent large-scale photographs, which further the artist’s ongoing investigations of photography’s complex and layered relationship to documentation, place, and history. In this series of dark, nearly indiscernible images, Douglas reimagines the postwar urban spaces of his native city of Vancouver, as it existed in 1948, when thousands of people exploited loopholes in British Columbia’s property laws to create provisional forms of accommodation in public spaces. Drawing on archival photographs and film footage, Douglas has digitally rendered several of these temporary urban structures and communities in minute detail. Inspired by film noir, he deploys subtle tonal shifts of black, gray, and white, cloaking the city’s interstitial spaces in shadow, while the eerily quiet scenes and dim pockets of light transform otherwise liminal structures and spaces into sophisticated theatrical mise-en-scènes. This historical reimagining challenges the conventions of the medium of photography itself, as the resulting hyperreal images are impossible photographs of a time and place unobserved by the camera, yet simultaneously fully dependent on the particularities of that time and place. As the artist has observed about these works, “It’s taking a photograph you can’t really take. The places aren’t there anymore and there’s no light.”1

This presentation also celebrates Douglas receiving the 2016 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. Opening in October, a solo show of the artist’s work will be hosted by the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg, Sweden. The artist has been the recipient of other notable awards, including the third annual Scotiabank Photography Award (2013) and the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, New York (2012).

Stan Douglas was born in 1960 in Vancouver, where he continues to live and work. He was one of the first artists to be represented by David Zwirner, where he had his first solo exhibition in the United States in 1993.

In 2015, The Secret Agent premiered as part of Stan Douglas: Interregnum at Wiels Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels and at Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon. The film installation will travel to Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, on view May 7 through July 10, 2016.

In 2013, a major survey of the artist’s recent work, Stan Douglas: Photographs 2008-2013, was presented at Carré d’Art – Musée d’art contemporain in Nîmes, France. It traveled as Stan Douglas: Mise en scène through 2015 to Haus der Kunst, Munich, followed by Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

In 2014, Douglas created Helen Lawrence, a multimedia theatre work, which innovatively merges theatre, visual art, live-action filming, and computer-generated imagery. Since the inaugural presentation at the Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver in March 2014, Helen Lawrence has been hosted by the Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich; Edinburgh International Festival; Canadian Stage, Toronto; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; and deSingel, Antwerp.

In 2014, Douglas created Helen Lawrence, a multimedia theatre work, which innovatively merges theatre, visual art, live-action filming, and computer-generated imagery. Since the inaugural presentation at the Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver in March 2014, Helen Lawrence has been hosted by the Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich; Edinburgh International Festival; Canadian Stage, Toronto; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; and deSingel, Antwerp.


1 Stan Douglas, quoted in Nick Compton, “Eye spy: Stan Douglas goes undercover at London’s Victoria Miro,” wallpaper.com (February 5, 2016).





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