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

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.