Douglas GORDON

At Media City Seoul 2010

Travail with my Donkeys (2008)

video installation, video still, dimensions variable

SeMA Gyeonghuigung Annex, Gallery G-2

Artist Profile

Born 1966; Lives and works in Glasgow

Douglas Gordon deconstructs and reinterprets the original meanings of images in order to cast doubt on originality while investigating dual meanings of images by overlapping them or presenting them in reverse. He furthermore manipulates the duration of scenes from well-known films in order to interrupt the consistent flow of time and subvert their narrative structure, suggesting a new mode of perception that provokes the viewer’s psychological reactions. Through this reconstruction and reinterpretation of images and time, the artist explores the duality of temptation and fear, life and death, and good and evil as well as the border between them, a persistent subject throughout his work.

Inspired by the medieval history of Avignon and its architectural heritage during his visit to the city in 2008, Gordon shot a video series in the Popes’ Palace featuring animals that were considered taboo by medieval churches. From the perspective of the medieval church, donkeys—which are featured in Gordon’s Travail with My Donkeys —are regarded as inauspicious animals symbolic of ignorance, indolence, and intemperance. In contrast, many folktales describe the animal as a comic and friendly character. Gordon’s video questions the standard of good and evil, reinterpreting the symbolic meaning of animals that were tabooed in the Middle Ages and are considered intimidating yet intriguing from a contemporary point of view. The absence of narrative in the work manifests the artist’s intention to address the ambiguous duality of good and evil.


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