Opening Reception, February 24 6-8 pm
"The expression on his face was not so much mortal terror as of mortal sickness...he reeled, put his hand to his throat, stood swaying for a moment, and then, with a peculiar sound, fell from his whole height face foremost to the floor. I went down on my knees at once. On the floor close to his hand there was a little round of paper, blackened on the one side. I could not doubt that this was the black spot..."
- Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island, 1883
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Douglas Gordon: thirteen. The exhibition consists of three series of recent photographs and a related wall text.
Two of the series are derived from "Treasure Island," where the portentous black spot in the palm of the hand becomes the mark of death. In one of the "black spot" series, Gordon has taken thirteen Polaroid photographs of his left (sinister) hand and enlarged it to a monstrous scale where image of the hand spans up to three feet. This process of one hand taking a photograph of the other produces a fragmented, duplicitous self-portrait. In the second "black spot" series, Gordon enlarged a detail of his marked hand, to create a landscape of foreboding and jeopardy.
The third series, croque mort, comprises seven images, all in editions of thirteen. The term "croque mort", literally translates into "to bite the dead", and refers to the French vernacular term for mortician. In years past, especially during times of war and plague, there was no scientific method of deciphering death. The best method of testing for live reflexes was to bite the feet of those thought to be dead. Gordon inverts this narrative into seven different images of an infant biting its feet, a further ominous elusion to his investigations of mortality, innocence and perversion.
Douglas Gordon recently had major solo shows at the Musée d'Arte Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the Tate Liverpool. He is currently preparing his first large scale exhibition in the U.S., which will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, on September 15, 2001, travel to Mexico City and through the U.S. arriving in New York at the Guggenheim Museum and Public Art Fund venues in late 2002.