Douglas Gordon review – pop is a light that never goes out

11 months ago 104

The trade of neon sign-making is simply a dying art, according to Douglas Gordon, who has commissioned a dazzle of glowing texts that radiance done the assemblage model into the wintertime twilight. You could arsenic accidental Gordon, whose video installation 24 Hour Psycho made him a prima successful the 1990s, arsenic did his winning the 1996 Turner prize, embodies a dying “craft” – the creation of the readymade.

Douglas Gordon, rise  the dead, 1996.
Reviving the readymade … Douglas Gordon, rise the dead, 1996. Photograph: Lucy Dawkins

Invented by Marcel Duchamp, rediscovered successful the 1980s arsenic “appropriation art”, and taken to caller heights of bare-faced feature by Gordon’s generation, the readymade is not the lingua franca of modern creation that it erstwhile was. Many younger artists picture their ain experiences successful authentic, nonstop ways including overgarment and figurative sculpture. But successful this exhibition, Gordon softly demonstrates wherefore nicking different people’s enactment tin inactive beryllium a bully mode of making your own. Perhaps helium goes further and asks what authenticity is, anyway? Can we truly beryllium definite we dependable ourselves, nevertheless heartfelt our neon cries?

All his neons are quotes from songs: “mighty REAL” says 1 successful blue. Even arsenic you perceive Jimmy Somerville’s dependable (and helium was quoting Sylvester) you wonder: is that swoop of feeling existent oregon stolen? We each similar to punctuation popular songs but wherefore bash we request different people’s words to explicit our feelings? Gordon has his ain story, his ain circumstantial representation astir each opus helium has acceptable successful lights. We each person those associations, if we unrecorded successful the modern world. I can’t perceive Hey Jude without remembering it coming up a ventilation shaft successful a New York hotel. But the opus remains the same. This is surely the constituent Gordon is making. Pop euphony connects our feelings with those of different people. The lyrics are some your ain and they are public. That’s what makes them glow – literally, here.

Douglas Gordon, one  2nd  that emotion, 2022.
Douglas Gordon, one 2nd that emotion, 2022. Photograph: Lucy Dawkins/© Studio mislaid but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022

Gordon’s aboriginal work, Something Between My Mouth and Your Ear, invited you into an amniotic bluish abstraction to perceive tracks that were successful the charts erstwhile helium was successful his mother’s womb. His caller enactment restates that fascination with the quality archive of popular music, the tunes and words we know, forget, remember, misremember. It is simply a defence of expressing yourself indirectly, done the breached lexicon that surrounds america each the time.

“A caller wintertime overgarment for the wife” the half-remembered enactment from Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding has a partition to itself and is inscribed successful icy, oregon heavenly, white. The creator has intelligibly not Googled the nonstop quote, which would beryllium “A caller wintertime overgarment and shoes for the wife”. He has stuck with his ain memory. Gordon was successful his teens erstwhile Costello’s sideways melancholy protestation song, speculating that bluish shipyards mightiness emergence again owed to the Falklands war, was a deed for Robert Wyatt. All these years on, that desperation is present again for many. But without the shipbuilding. “i 2nd that emotion” arsenic it says, each little case, successful heartfelt purple.

Gordon has lived overmuch of his creator beingness successful quotations, appropriating full films and movie scores arsenic good arsenic songs. Yet helium is besides a benignant of painter. His video projections astatine their champion person the authorization of frescoes oregon past paintings. That happens here, too. Gagosian’s model becomes a bejewelled canvas, the spaced colours vibrating and melting: taxi airy yellow, bathhouse blue, lobster red. It’s arsenic crowded with colour arsenic a pulsing metropolis centre, a miniature Times Square oregon Seoul’s Gangnam district. It is simply a neon representation of the interior life.

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