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Tate Summer Project

First project of the year: video piece created in response to the work of Douglas Gordon

This project was based on the idea of responding, through our work, to the art practice of an artist whose work was displayed over the summer at Tate. The aim of the project was to analyse the work of the selected artists in order to fully comprehend it, its background, influences and references, and then take inspiration from it and respond with a piece.

The art work I selected is “Feature Film” by Douglas Gordon.

The film was shown on a big screen placed in the centre of the room, playing footage from both sides and the film Vertigo on a small tv on the side.  The video showed an emotionally involved conductor (Conlon) as he directed the score to an orchestra that the public never saw. The installation aimed at creating a type of vertigo (an experience of disorientation and dizziness) as viewers tried to simultaneously balance the visual dual between Gordon’s film of the music performance and Hitchcock’s engaging soundtrack from the small screen.

I chose this piece because the way the video and sound filled the entire space fascinated me the moment I walked into the room and I thought I wanted to created the same response into the public with y own installations.

A few points that interested me about the work of this artist that I wanted to take inspiration from were:

  • His idea that the purpose of art is to initiate conversation.
  • The disruption of the momentum.
  • Something very personal is happening and yet it feels distant in a way, detached, formal.
  • By displaying the work on the two sides of the screen the viewer is confronted with two versions of the film.
  • Viewers are not sure where to focus.
  • Problematic mental states such as psychological splitting and anxiety (including hysteria) often become materials for his art. In Vertigo he has found a cornucopia of psychological disabilities including paranoia, guilt, deception, suicide, cross-dressing fetishism…
  • Gordon creates this tension between memory and the altered version of reality he presents
  • The line between what we see, what we perceive and what is right or wrong is blurred, inverted and likely reflected back on us.
  • One truth always contains its opposite. One image always has its mirror image and again he plays with the push and pull of opposites with neither seeming to win out, but rather remaining in a perpetual state of conflict and moments of compromise

My work

After the researches I became aware of all the personal insights in Douglas’s work and I decided to make a personal piece in response to a situation I was struggling with at the moment, still keeping reference to his work.

I created a two video pieces that were supposed to be displayed one facing the other on big screens placed 1m to 2m far from each other according to the lcation.

I wanted to create this disrupted conversation with the self in which there was not really a narrative but just an exchange. By placing the screens close to each other I wanted the viewer to feel intruded in a private space; I wanted the person in between the screens not to be able to actually see both of them at the same time.

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While pursuing the researches about Douglas Gordon, I found out new things that I will may incorporate in my practice this year, since I find them appealing for the context of my work. I especially found benefiting for me, how different people described his work and how different writers saw different aspect of his personal influence within his work without him ever being explicit about it.

This has been a really personal and hard work to make, but it has been necessary for me to be able to look at myself from the outside and move on.