Key facts about the artist

Pretty Much Every Film and Video Work From About 1992 Until Now
Pretty Much Every Film and Video Work From About 1992 Until Now (1992-2006)

In his work, List of Names, he attempted to remember everyone he had ever met
Glasgow and Berlin
Glasgow and London
Turner Prize 1996
Venice Biennale 1997
Won the Premio 2000 award


Video: Scotland's Art Revolution - Douglas Gordon discusses his retrospective exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art

Video: Art in Scotland TV - Julie-Ann Delaney on GENERATION at Modern One

About Douglas's work

Douglas Gordon makes videos, installations, photographs and text pieces, using both found and original material, in an attempt to lay bare the ambiguities of human life. In Gordon’s world nothing is good or evil but both at the same time. Gordon’s religious upbringing made him deeply aware of human beliefs and he uses these throughout his work. In addition his interest in psychoanalysis led him to explore the complexities of the human mind and especially the nature of schizophrenia. Gordon explores the degree to which we are all subject to shifting identities. He uses techniques of doubling and mirroring in works including Divided Self I and II (1996), a video showing a smooth arm and a hairy arm wrestling. 

In 24 Hour Psycho (1993), Gordon takes Alfred Hitchcock’s famous 1960 film Psycho and slows it down so that it runs for twenty-four hours. This key work is deceptively simple, but has devastating consequences, exposing the way that memory works in the flow of our consciousness. Everyone knows the plot of Psycho and can anticipate what will happen, but in Gordon’s version, this is constantly frustrated, since the future never seems to come.

The text installation List of Names (1990–ongoing) also explores the role of memory. The artist attempted to remember everyone he had ever met. In a way, it is a self-portrait, since we are what we remember. Likewise, a work such as Pretty much every film and video work from about 1992 until now. (1999), an array of video monitors showing a lifetime of Gordon’s creative achievements, is a series of windows into his mind. In Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (2006) – a video installation that Gordon made with Philippe Parreno in 2006 – all the cameras used to make the work are trained on its subject, the footballer Zinedine Zidane, rather than the game itself. 

Gordon had begun this move towards exploring the inner world of other people in Feature Film (1999). In that work he concentrated his camera on the hands and face of a conductor. We do not see the orchestra. Gesture and facial expression are the only clues we have to what is going on in the conductor’s mind all except, of course, for the music. This is the element that engenders those movements and allows us special insight.


Douglas Gordon (born 1966 in Glasgow) trained at The Glasgow School of Art from 1984 to 1988 and at the Slade School of Art, London from 1988 to 1990. He won the Turner Prize in 1996, the Premio 2000 at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997, the Hugo Boss Prize in 1998 and the Käthe Kollwitz Prize in 2012. He spent 19967 in Hanover and Berlin on a DAAD scholarship. Important shows have been staged in Frankfurt (2011), Edinburgh and New York (2006), London and Bregenz (2002), Los Angeles (2001), Liverpool and Paris (2000), and Eindhoven (1995). He teaches at the Städelschule, Frankfurt and lives and works in Berlin and Glasgow.


More information

Katrina Brown, Douglas Gordon, Tate Publishing, London, 2004

Douglas Gordon, Déjà-vu: Questions and Answers (3 volumes), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2000

Elsewhere on the web