Blind Spencer (Mirror)
Blind Spencer is part of the series “Blind Stars” including hundreds of works in which the artist cut out the eyes of Hollywood stars, in a symbolically violent manner. An emptiness (some are burned letting appear a white or mirror background or a mirror) replaces the eyes, giving the impression of a blind eye deprived of all expression. Paradoxically, the work looks at us all the more intensely. The glamorous black and white portrait of Spencer Tracy evokes the golden age of Hollywood, with all of its codes like seductive smiles and directional light, not to mention a perverse use of the gaze. Gordon talks about his work as a process of “research, memory, of stories that took place, the films I’ve seen … I am interested in looking for what happens when you look at something so long that it disappears. You are viewing an image, you start looking through the image, and you reach the other side and then you return to the surface. ” This act of cutting, pertinent to a new generation of artists focusing on the ready-made, image fragments and found sound footage, juxtaposes temporalities like in video editing and introduces a hint of melancholy. The act of cutting fascinates and repels, in what Freud called an experience of “the uncanny.” The viewer can only contemplate a loss of the soul which is traditionally reflected in the eyes. After Andy Warhol and his celebrity portraits, Douglas Gordon tracks the iconic and deadly character of his subjects.
The works of Douglas Gordon span across film, video, installation, photography, sculpture in a play with the universal dualities life and death, innocence and guilt, and dual identities. "I like to build self-destructive systems or mechanisms that lead to the multiplicity of meaning, in a series of contradictory interpretations. I love it when a conspiracy of circumstances can help build a sense for a work, or may return against it at any moment," says the artist. In his videos, the artist offers a new experience of cinema in the space of contemporary art thus creating "exhibition cinema" as critic Dominique Païni has suggested. His work stems from the ideas of Walter Benjamin, who compared cinema to the action of a surgeon who deeply penetrates the heart of reality. In "24 Hour Psycho" (1993), the famous Alfred Hitchcock movie is dilated to 24 hours in a gesture that monumentalizes time and intensifies the photogram. Above all, the artist questions memory and perception, looking for what is latent in the images, objects, and sounds.
Douglas Gordon was born in 1966 in Glasgow, Scotland. He lives and works in New York.