ARTIST ROOMS: Douglas Gordon: Play Dead; Real Time
Tate Britain: Display
6 May 29 September 2013
  • ARTIST ROOMS Douglas Gordon - Tate Britain

In his video installations, Douglas Gordon (born 1966) plays with the cinematic techniques of duration, doubling and mirroring to explore the dynamic between audience and image. Play Dead; Real Time was filmed at an empty Gagosian Gallery in New York, where the artist arranged to have Minnie, a four-year-old Indian elephant, brought in to perform a series of tricks – ‘play dead’, ‘stand still’, ‘walk around’, ‘back up’, ‘get up’ and ‘beg’ – on the command of her off-screen trainer. The footage showing Minnie’s sequences of tricks is simultaneously presented in a front and a rear life-sized projection and on a monitor, with each one depicting the same event from a range of perspectives.

The viewer is presented with an opportunity to see the animal with an intimacy and perspective that are very rarely offered. For Gordon, Play Dead; Real Time sits between ‘a nature film and a medical documentary, to observe the subject in a way that could be used for a practical purpose but also had a very certain aesthetic. One of the beautiful things about film and video is that it can imbue a sense or sensibility that doesn’t actually physically exist.’

This display has been curated by Carmen Juliá.

ARTIST ROOMS On Tour is a partnership with Arts Council England and the Art Fund, making available the ARTIST ROOMS collection of international contemporary art to galleries throughout the UK.