Douglas Gordon Between Darkness and Light (After William Blake) 1997

  • Not on view

Between Darkness and Light (After William Blake) is an installation that pairs a film about divine revelation with another about satanic possession. Projected onto opposite sides of the same translucent screen, the two films overlap back to back; a dark area in one image makes the other more visible, and two bright sequences nearly extinguish each other. When viewers walk into the path of the projections, they cast shadows on one side of the screen, revealing a clearer image of the other movie within them.

Both films—The Exorcist (1973), directed by William Friedkin, and The Song of Bernadette (1943), directed by Henry King—are about adolescent girls driven by external forces. In The Exorcist, Regan is possessed by the devil; in The Song of Bernadette, the heroine's revelation leads her to steer her life toward God. Gordon plays both films at their actual speeds and with their original soundtracks; simply starting them at the same time and letting them run generates a constant variation of image and sound level. In an oscillating battle of images, a purgatorylike weighing of good and evil emerges. Neither Heaven nor Hell, Devil nor God, wins.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 176.
Two-channel video (color and black and white, sound), dual vision screen
107 min. and 155 min.
Gift of Celeste and Adam Bartos, Drue Heinz, Marlene Hess, Michael Ovitz, and Sid Bass
Object number
© 2024 Douglas Gordon
Media and Performance

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