Douglas Gordon wins Roswitha Haftmann Prize
The 2008 winner of Europe’s most valuable art award, the Roswitha Haftmann Prize, is the Scottish video artist Douglas Gordon. The award ceremony will take place on 8 May inKunsthaus Zürich.
Roswitha Haftmann Foundation
Press Release – Zurich, 16 January 2008
The Board of the Roswitha Haftmann Foundation will award the 2008 Roswitha Haftmann Prize (valued at 150,000 Swiss francs) to the Scottish video artist Douglas Gordon (*1966). Having started his artistic life as a photographer, Gordon has developed a unique mode of expression using video and film installations. Gordon, like Doug Aitken and Stan Douglas, is one of the leading figures amongst the mid-generation video artists. In 1996 he was awarded the Turner Prize.
Gordon has a predilection for dissecting, splintering and doubling images, or for turning them into their own opposites. At the same time, however, doubt has been his constant companion on the road to artistic success. He often plays a double game: by undermining the credibility of images created using modern media he unsettles the viewer’s faculties of perception. In his installations Gordon plays optical tricks on the viewer; existing film footage – with unexpected cuts – appears in completely new contexts and sound is used to arouse expectations that are either not fulfilled by the imagery or take on new associations. Gordon uses his art to explore themes such as temptation and fear, life and death, guilt and innocence. He draws his viewers
in by demonstrating that their own lives are both volatile and contradictory.
The aesthetic brilliance and emotional impact of his work is no less memorable than that of the work he himself looks up to, in particular the films of Alfred Hitchcock – witness ‘Play Dead: Real Time’, where the camera circles around a trained elephant that lies down on the floor of the Gagosian Gallery in New York as though to die, or ‘B-Movie’ which focuses on a single fly, its
legs flailing as it slowly, eventually does in fact die. Gordon’s works investigate the fear of temptation, his works play with guilt and innocence, life and death. The essence of the human beings portrayed in his output is erratic and contradictory, as in the most recent example, ‘Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait’, a documentary focusing on the French football star Zinedine
Zidane that was shown at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
In recognition of Gordon’s outstanding artistic achievement, which is not restricted to media art and also takes him into various other genres, the Board of the Foundation has chosen him as the 2008 winner of the Roswitha Haftmann Prize.
About Douglas Gordon
Douglas Gordon (born in Glasgow in 1966) lives and works in New York and Glasgow. He studied from 1984–88 at Glasgow School of Art, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts, and continued his studies as a postgraduate at the Slade School of Art in London. In 1996 he was awarded the Turner Prize. Ever since then he has had a presence through exhibitions and works in leading public art institutions in Europe, the United States, Canada and South America.
Espaces Arts & Objets
Swiss Art Gallery