Douglas Gordon came of age with a generation of artists drawn to critiquing and deconstructing media technology. Over the past two decades, he has produced text-based and photographic works as well as video installations, often based on cinematic imagery, that investigate the construction of meaning and the notion of the sublime.
For the monumental installation Play Dead; Real Time, Gordon arranged for a circus elephant to be transported to Gagosian Gallery, in New York City, where he filmed it obeying a series of commands (repeatedly lying down and then awkwardly struggling to rise). Like many of Gordon's protagonists, the elephant is subject to greater forces, beyond its controL Simultaneously presenting several different versions of the scene, in front and rear projections and on a monitor, the work depicts the event from a range of perspectives rather than from a single static viewpoint.
Gallery label from 2013