Interviewing Provocateur Douglas Gordon

Meeting with the artist and Turner Prize winner in his Berlin studio. Today he stands out for his innate humor and desire to provoke.
Reading time 2 minutes

You are originally from Glasgow, where you studied at the School of Art before moving on to the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Two places of great prestige in which you have experimented with sculpture, cinema, and video. How did you discover your artistic inclination?

 When I was about 10 years old, a professor wrote in my notebook: "We need to encourage the artistic tendencies of Douglas at the first opportunity". I guess my parents took the advice literally. Forty years later, I am still looking for these opportunities.


In 1993, at age 26, you exhibited your first significant work, "24 Hour Psycho", which takes the plot of Hitchcock's film and multiplies its duration. How did this work inform future pieces? 

In recent years at the Glasgow Academy, I had begun to get my hands dirty with performance. Those very experimental attempts encouraged me to explore the duration of concentrated and repetitive gestures with very simple objects. Essential and dilated gestures approached a kind of slow-motion, but in real-time, under the eyes of the spectators. We worked with slow motion, slowed objects, slow smells, and I even tried to slow down an incandescent flame.


Classical cinema and literature innervate your works: Who are the authors and directors who have influenced you the most, and why?

"The King of Kings". "The Exorcist". "The Greatest Story Ever Told". "Carrie". "The Great Escape". "Marnie". "Birds". "The Ten Commandments" (the film and the Biblical episode). "The Tunic". "Kidnapped". "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ". "The Red Balloon". "The Crow" (the film and poetry). Inspiration is never anything but a disguised suggestion. On the other hand, disguises are always welcome in the B-series show that is my life. Fertilization, on the other hand, has more serious effects, and I prefer to leave this suffering to others.


Tell us about the effects that the Turner Prize has had on your career.

Being the first Scottish Turner Prize, it seemed right to leave the UK as soon as possible to make way for the next wave.

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