Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Douglas Gordon installation at ACCA

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.
The scene, 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, imagining what 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 ACCA and 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.

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