Dundee Contemporary Arts presents k.364 by Douglas Gordon

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Dundee Contemporary Arts presents k.364 by Douglas Gordon
Douglas Gordon, k.364. 2011. Image courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery.

DUNDEE.- Dundee Contemporary Arts announced the presentation of k.364, a major installation by the Scottish artist Douglas Gordon, marking the first time that the work has been shown in a public institution in the UK. The work comprises a large scale video installation, which follows two Israeli musicians of Polish-Jewish heritage on their journey by train from Berlin to Warsaw, shown alongside a suite of 32 connected works titled Dark Burnt Scores.

The exhibition is an intimate portrayal of the relationship between individuals and the power of music, against the subtly drawn backdrop of a dark and unresolved social history. Although grounded in a very specific time and place, k.364 has a deep relevance to contemporary politics; the rise of the far right, and the UK’s complex connection with borders and shifting relationship with Europe.

Douglas Gordon (b. 1966, Glasgow) creates work that questions the complexities of memory and perception, both from an individual and collective position. Over the past three decades he has carved out a significant international career, and his diverse body of work – which spans video and film, sound, photographic objects and texts both as installation and printed matter – is infused with a combination of humour and deep pathos, serving to manipulate the viewer’s reaction. An early work, 24 Hour Psycho (1993), slowed down Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary film into a full day’s duration, drawing out the horror until any sensation of suspense ceased to exist. In 2006, he collaborated with French artist Philippe Parreno on the feature film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, which used multiple cameras to follow every movement of the international football star during a match.

k.364 features two Israeli musicians of Polish descent, Avri Levitan and Roi Shiloah, traveling to Poland from Berlin by train. Installed across multiple screens in the gallery and accompanied by a rich and layered soundscape, the 50 minute film follows the two men through haunted landscapes in two countries whose tragic and violent histories often lie below the surface. Gordon films the musicians on this personal journey, isolating intimate moments when their passionate love of music seems to move between them. Leaving Berlin, they first travel through Poznan, home of the celebrated Amadeus Chamber Orchestra. The journey concludes with the musicians’ performance at the Warsaw Philharmonic concert hall of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major (also known as k.364, in reference to the Köchel catalogue of Mozart’s work, and from which the title of this piece is derived).

This installation occupies the entirety of Gallery 2 at DCA, whilst in Gallery 1 audiences will see a suite of 32 connected works titled Dark Burnt Scores. Partially, and sometimes almost wholly, burnt pages of the violin and viola scores played by Levitan and Shiloah in k.364, are framed against black. Mournful and delicate, they hint at disappearing cultures, lost conversations and destructive forces.

Beth Bate, Director of DCA, said “We are delighted to be working with Douglas, one of Scotland’s most internationally renowned artists, on the presentation of k.364 here at DCA. This remarkable work has never felt more timely, as we enter into a new relationship with Europe and consider the importance of shared social histories, and the power of music and culture to connect people. We look forward to visitors to DCA enjoying this beautiful and intimate show, Douglas’s first in Dundee.”

Douglas Gordon said: “The man-made borders that seem to define one country from another are legally defined boundaries that don’t pay much attention to the culture, folk tradition or music, that are truly living beyond any ‘line drawn in the sand’… Over many years of travel, crossing borders and breaking boundaries, it’s wonderful how the differences between places have become a real pleasure for me. And since ‘home’ is just as different as any faraway place, it’s always special for me to come back to Scotland."

Eoin Dara, Head of Exhibitions at DCA, said “k.364 is an emotional and complex work that stretches across vast geographical and historical spaces to remind us of the importance of collective memory, empathy and acts of human tenderness. We’re thrilled to be developing this new presentation of the work at DCA in 2022, at a time when we all need to be questioning dominant power structures and resisting political projects that seek to violently eradicate some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”

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