Douglas Gordon Receives the
Roswitha Haftmann Prize
Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
© Douglas Gordon
Gordon is this year's recipient of the Roswitha
Haftmann Prize, the highest-endowed European art award amounting to
150,000 Swiss francs. With his complex video installations, which circle
around existential themes such as the polarity between good and evil,
guilt and innocence, and life and death, Gordon has become one of the most
prominent contemporary artists worldwide. He received the Turner
Prize in 1996. At the Deutsche
Guggenheim in 2005, Gordon curated the exhibition The
VANITY of Allegory, a very personal project in which he combined
his own creations with works by artists such as Man
Ray and Jeff Koons and with
films ranging from Hollywood productions to underground movies. The
exhibits oscillate between self-portrayal and morbid play with the
ephemerality of human existence.
Gordon's The VANITY of Allegory
Photo: Mathias Schormann
Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin
"Pleasurably dissected, he fragments or doubles images or
turns them into their opposite. Doubt is his accomplice on the way to
artistic success," remarked the jury, which includes Dr.
Christoph Becker (Director Kunsthaus Zurich), Dr.
Bernhard Mendes Bürgi (Director Kunstmuseum Basel), and Prof.
Kasper König (Director Museum Ludwig, Cologne), explaining why
they chose Gordon. "The aesthetic brilliance and emotional force of his
video works are in no way inferior to his models – particularly Alfred
Hitchcock's films." Hitchcock inspired Gordon to create one of his
most famous works, 24 Hour Psycho. The film stretches the
director's classic horror movie to a length of 24 hours. Every detail is
visible, things never noticed before move to the center of attention.
Particularly viewers who know the film well enter into a hypnotic state in
which time seems to stand still.
Gordon, Play Dead, Real Time, 2003
view Gagosian Gallery
© Douglas Gordon
for Play Dead: Real Time Gordon films a trained elephant which lies
down as if to die in the Gagosian
Gallery in New York, or in B-Movie shows a fly that dies after
twitching for a long time – a key theme in his works is the investigation
of death. One of his most recent works, Zidane: A 21st-Century Portrait,
which had its premiere at the Cannes
Film Festival in 2006, attests to Douglas' passion for soccer. For a
period of 90 minutes, the film observes the French soccer star Zinedine
Zidane during a match between Real
Madrid against Villareal in
the spring of 2005.
Gordon, Untitled, n. d.
Douglas Gordon is the ninth
artist to receive the Roswitha Haftmann Prize. Every one to three years,
the Zurich-based Roswitha Haftmann Foundation awards the prize to
important contemporary artists. Among the previous prizewinners are the
Canadian photographer Jeff
Wall, whose show Exposure
was recently on view at the Deutsche Guggenheim, as well as Maria
Lassnig, Mona Hatoum,
& Weiss, who are represented with numerous works in the Deutsche