at gagosian athens, douglas gordon exhibits movie lines and song lyrics in coiled neon lights

at gagosian athens, douglas gordon exhibits movie lines and song lyrics in coiled neon lights

Neon ark by douglas gordon at gagosian athens

 

Gagosian Athens exhibits a selection of neon works by Douglas Gordon whose lighting design is inspired by lines from movie scripts and song lyrics. The exhibition titled ‘Neon Ark’ runs between April 6th and May 20th, 2023. Gordon has once set an enormous ring of fire ablaze in the Swiss Alps here. Now at Gagosian Athens, each of his neon works has a complementing partner that is simply hidden away from the show, a secret that completes the lit excerpts hanging on the walls.

 

Such a concept toys with the viewers’ imagination as they themselves can piece up the lines. But Gordon guides them too since he lets them into the sources of the lines, not leaving his visitors hanging. I second that emotion (2022) is taken from a 1968 song by Smokey Robinson that was covered by the English new wave band Japan in 1980, and that was popular when Gordon was at school.

 

I dont care I dont care has a dual reference, reproducing a line common to ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’ (1986) by the Smiths and Pavement’s ‘Cut Your Hair’ (1994). These neon works were produced by the on-site workshop that Gordon established in his exhibition at the gallery’s Davies Street, London in which artisans worked to shape Murano glass tubing into short texts.

at gagosian athens, douglas gordon exhibits movie lines and song lyrics in coiled neon lights
DOUGLAS GORDON. if when why what, 2022. Neon19 11/16 x 13 x 2 in 50 x 33 x 5 cm, © Studio lost but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022, photo by Lucy Dawkins, courtesy the artist and Gagosian | Douglas Gordon: Neon Ark, installation view, 2023 Artwork © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany, 2023, photo byStathis Mamalakis, courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

 

 

More than just for aesthetic viewing, an autobiographical nuance penetrates Gordon’s neon designs at Gagosian Athens. The artist looks back on his early memories and shares them with his viewers by invoking nostalgia in the presence of neon lights. Climbing to its peak between the 1920s and the 1960s, the neon lights hark back to the glowing signs hanging over the stores’ awnings and architecture, their light shining down on the onlookers and hypnotizing drivers cruising past them.

 

Gordon sees neon as a vernacular through which concepts and skills are developed, expanded, and connected. He describes the psychedelic lighting as ‘ a gas, and because it was discovered, not invented, it quickly became a byword or symbol for the very essence of discovery.’

 

No wonder he was enamored by the blend of neon’s novelty and saccharine splendor when he first laid his eyes on the illuminated signs as he watched movies from previous eras. The neon lights’ allure has captured him, and the artist seems to have settled upon sculpting them into movie lines and song lyrics as his homage to his younger years.

at gagosian athens, douglas gordon exhibits movie lines and song lyrics in coiled neon lights
DOUGLAS GORDON, i second that emotion, 2022, Neon 26 3/4 x 22 13/16 x 2 in 68 x 58 x 5 cm, © Studio lost but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022, photo by Lucy Dawkins courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

 

 

Exploring collective memory and self-security

 

Alongside his works at Neon Ark, Gordon explores collective memory and one’s sense of psychological security. He does so by distorting time and space in his bodies of work that include films, projections, installations, photographs, and performances. He draws upon the work of other artists and filmmakers as well as his own to fuel his own craft.

 

Since the 1990s, he has produced text-based artworks; most of these have taken the form of vinyl decals put to walls, but a select handful have used neon light. For Neon Ark, Gordon recognizes the shift that has taken place in the use of neon lights. His observations seem to allude to neon’s change in status from a lighting tool bringing commercial signages life toward a rarified technology superseded by digital display.

 

The gnomic verbal content of Gordon’s texts chimes with the alchemical nature of neon and its place in the history of modernism; the medium has a long and distinguished creative heritage, having been used by numerous artists, including Dan Flavin, Joseph Kosuth, and Bruce Nauman.

at gagosian athens, douglas gordon exhibits movie lines and song lyrics in coiled neon lights
DOUGLAS GORDON, A New Winter Coat For The Wife, 2022, Neon 61 x 23 5/8 x 2 in155 x 60 x 5 cm, © Studio lost but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022, photo by Lucy Dawkins courtesy of Gagosian

at gagosian athens, douglas gordon exhibits movie lines and song lyrics in coiled neon lights
DOUGLAS GORDON, holding on to one another’s hands, 2022, Neon 33 7/16 x 19 5/16 x 2 in 85 x 49 x 5 cm, © Studio lost but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022, photo by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

douglas-gordon-neon-ark-exhibition-gagosian-athens-designboom-ban

DOUGLAS GORDON, mighty REAL, 2022, Neon 3 1/8 x 17 1/8 x 2 in 8 x 43.5 x 5 cm © Studio lost but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022, photo by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

at gagosian athens, douglas gordon exhibits movie lines and song lyrics in coiled neon lights
Douglas Gordon: Neon Ark, installation view, 2023 Artwork © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany, 2023 | photo by Stathis Mamalakis courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

at gagosian athens, douglas gordon exhibits movie lines and song lyrics in coiled neon lights
Douglas Gordon: Neon Ark, installation view, 2023 Artwork © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany, 2023 | photo by Stathis Mamalakis courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

at gagosian athens, douglas gordon exhibits movie lines and song lyrics in coiled neon lights
Douglas Gordon: Neon Ark, installation view, 2023 Artwork © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany, 2023 | photo by Stathis Mamalakis courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

at gagosian athens, douglas gordon exhibits movie lines and song lyrics in coiled neon lights
DOUGLAS GORDON, mighty REAL, 2022 (detail), Neon | photo by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.

douglas-gordon-neon-ark-exhibition-gagosian-athens-designboom-ban2

Douglas Gordon: Neon Ark, installation view, 2023 Artwork © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany, 2023 | photo by Stathis Mamalakis courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

 

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DOUGLAS GORDON, A New Winter Coat For The Wife, 2022 (detail), Neon 61 x 23 5/8 x 2 in, 155 x 60 x 5 cm © Studio lost but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022, photo by Lucy Dawkins courtesy of Gagosian
DOUGLAS GORDON, A New Winter Coat For The Wife, 2022 (detail), Neon 61 x 23 5/8 x 2 in, 155 x 60 x 5 cm © Studio lost but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022, photo by Lucy Dawkins courtesy of Gagosian
Late night reception at Douglas Gordon: Neon Ark, 8 December, 2022 © Studio lost but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022, photo by Clover Green Studio courtesy CIRCA 2022 @clovergreenstudio
Late night reception at Douglas Gordon: Neon Ark, 8 December, 2022 © Studio lost but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022, photo by Clover Green Studio courtesy CIRCA 2022 @clovergreenstudio
Late night reception at Douglas Gordon: Neon Ark, 8 December, 2022 © Studio lost but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022, photo by Clover Green Studio courtesy CIRCA 2022 @clovergreenstudio
Late night reception at Douglas Gordon: Neon Ark, 8 December, 2022 © Studio lost but found/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2022, photo by Clover Green Studio courtesy CIRCA 2022 @clovergreenstudio

project info:

 

name: Neon Ark

artist: Douglas Gordon

gallery: Gagosian (Athens)

location: 22 Anapiron Polemou Street in Athens, Greece

dates: April 6th and May 20th, 2023

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