If you want to find the truth in something, take it apart piece by piece, then put it back together with the detail of a forensic scientist. This is a classical way to deconstruct a narrative. However, when you stand in front of 24 Hour Psycho (1993) slowly unfolding piece by piece, after five minutes, you’ve lost track of where the narrative started. I like this idea that you can take almost a scientific method and end up lost in a labyrinth of multiple, conflicting meanings, and that you have to acknowledge your own forgetfulness.
Gagosian is pleased to present “back and forth and forth and back,” an exhibition of key films and videos by Douglas Gordon, including 24 Hour Psycho Back and Forth and To and Fro (2008), as well as a selection of video monitor works.
In his projections, installations, photographs, text works, performances, and more, Gordon investigates collective memory and selfhood, whether divided, fragmented, or dissolved altogether. His interest in temporal manipulation is especially evident in his films and videos; using his own work and that of others as raw material, he distorts time in order to disorient and challenge.
For 24 Hour Psycho Back and Forth and To and Fro (2008), Gordon exacerbates the already unsettling plot of Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic thriller Psycho (1960) by allowing time to flow forward and backward at the same time. While Gordon’s earlier 24 Hour Psycho (1993) slowed down Hitchcock’s original to a few frames per second, extending the duration of the film to 24 hours, 24 Hour Psycho Back and Forth and To and Fro introduces an additional layer of distortion. The film plays on two adjoining screens: on one, the film starts from the beginning, and on the other it starts from the end, so that for an unbearably brief moment (one twenty-fourth of a second), after waiting for twelve hours, the screens show the same sequence, the mirrored images resembling a giant, slow-moving Rorschach test.
Using edited footage as a malleable resource, Gordon sets up new definitions of suspense and climax. Rather than waiting for Janet Leigh’s killer to appear in silhouette, knife in hand, behind her, viewers of Gordon’s film enter a hypnotic and photographic spectacle with the hope of simply catching the split second when two temporal directions overlap.
A 24-hour screening of 24 Hour Psycho Back and Forth and To and Fro will take place at the 21st Street gallery on November 17, starting at 10am and finishing on November 18 at 10am. The gallery will then resume normal hours on the 18th (10am–6pm).
Douglas Gordon was born in 1966 in Glasgow, and lives in Berlin and Paris. Collections include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Tate, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; MUSAC - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain; and Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich. Institutional exhibitions include “Douglas Gordon: Timeline,” Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006, traveled to MALBA - Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires); “Pretty much every film and video work from about 1992 until now,” British School at Rome (2007, traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art); “Douglas Gordon. Between Darkness and Light. Works 1993—2004,” Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2007); Tate, London (2010); Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt am Main (2011–12); “I am also ....,” Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2013); “Everything Is Nothing without Its Reflection – A Photographic Pantomime,” Museum Folkwang, Germany (2013); “Pretty much every film and video work from about 1992 until now,” Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris (2014); “the only way out is the only way in: Douglas Gordon,” Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2014); the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014); PRISMES, Paris Photo, Grand Palais (2016); Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (2017); and documenta 14, Athens (2017). Gordon’s film works have been shown at the Festival de Cannes; Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF); Venice Film Festival; and Glasgow Film Festival, among others.
In 2008 Gordon was Juror at the 65th International Venice Film Festival, and in 2012 he was the Jury president of Cinema XXI at the 7th Rome Film Festival. In 1996, he received the Turner Prize and the Kunstpreis Niedersachsen, Kunstverein Hannover. He was awarded the Premio 2000 at the 47th Biennale di Venezia (1997); the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York (1998); the Roswitha Haftmann Prize awarded by the Kunsthaus Zürich (2008); and the Käthe-Kollwitz Prize awarded by the Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2012). In 2012, Gordon became a Commandeur dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, awarded the title by the French Cultural Minister in Berlin on behalf of the French Republic.
Gordon has also been commissioned to produce an original public artwork for the new Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road, London, opening in December 2018.