Douglas Gordon

Monster Reborn (1996 / 2002)

About this artwork

Gordon uses doubles and opposites in his work to question ideas about good and evil, positive and negative, male and female. As a Scottish artist, he often uses his own image to explore the ‘dual’ identity of Scottish culture, as exemplified in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. This work is a double self-portrait, and is the same photograph used in the artist’s 1996 work ‘Monster’, except here the image is reversed so that the distorted face is on the left instead of the right. Gordon has used sticky tape to distort his face, making him virtually unrecognisable from the sober-looking man on the right. The viewer is thus prompted to wonder if both states can co-exist in one body, and who came first, the monster or the artist?

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Douglas Gordon

Douglas Gordon

Gordon was born in Glasgow and studied at Glasgow School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art, London. He has worked in video, photography, sound, text and other media and uses predominantly 'found' material. Gordon is fascinated by our binary nature and our tendency to split things into opposites: black and white, good and evil. His work investigates ambiguity and the disruption of the normal, accepted ways of seeing the world. He is one of the most successful of contemporary Scottish artists, winning prestigious art prizes in Europe and the United States, including the Turner Prize in 1996. Important shows have been staged in Frankfurt (2011), Edinburgh and New York (2006), London and Bregenz (2002), Los Angeles (2001), Liverpool and Paris (2000), and Eindhoven (1995). He teaches at the Städelschule, Frankfurt and lives and works in Berlin and Glasgow.