Last night I watched Blue Steel (Kathryn Bigelow, 1989) and
one of the most telling scenes was one in which the male protagonist, holding a
gun in his hand, looks at himself in the mirror, imagining of course what
it would be like to be faced with such a frightening situation whilst simultaneously enjoying the feeling of absolute power.
Still from Blue Steel.
although most probably played out in many cinematic forums is well remembered
as the one in which Travis (Robert De Niro) in Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976) with
gun in hand, looks into the mirror and rehearses his ‘you talkin’ to me’
narrative, imaginingwhat it would be
like if confronted with a bad guy.
Douglas Gordon installation view.
This morning I went to see the Douglas Gordon video
installation, the only way out is the only way in at ACCAand that famous scene from Taxi Driver was
played on a loop on four large screens. In another room a multitude of video
monitors displayed an overview of Gordon’s various works and engaged with sexuality, life, death and destruction via some disturbing
imagery (scorpions on a person's hand, the fist of one hand penetrating the partially closed fist of the other hand, hands in black gloves, a dead elephant, white skulls bobbing in a free flowing river, a bleating lamb prior to its slaughter, slivering snakes, a person wrist tied and damaged by wire).
In yet another room the visitor was confronted with their own image
via mirrors on the walls that were surrounded by still photographs from Gordon's
various video works. Both our selves and Gordon's works are reflected back at us.
Selfie showing Gordon's framed works.
There was one other room, which contained text on the back
wall and 30 seconds of almost complete darkness in the space. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of his video works
and the contrary and complimentary readings that could be given to the overall
installation, which seemed to me to be filled with a melancholia that was
there, but remained elusive.
The installation is on at ACCA until 3 August, 2014.