Since the late 1980s, Stan Douglas has created films, photographs, and installations that reexamine particular locations or past events. His works often take their points of departure in local settings, from which broader issues can be identified. Making frequent use of both analog and digital technologies, Douglas appropriates existing Hollywood genres (including murder mysteries and the Western) and borrows from classic literary works (notably, Samuel Beckett, Herman Melville, and Franz Kafka) to create ready-made contextual frameworks for his complex, reimagined narratives that pertain to particular locations or past events.
Douglas was born in 1960 in Vancouver, where he continues to live and work. He was one of the first artists to be represented by David Zwirner, where he had his first American solo exhibition in 1993. In 2016, David Zwirner presented The Secret Agent at 519 West 19th Street, marking the artist's thirteenth gallery solo show in New York. In conjunction with The Secret Agent was a survey of Douglas's photographic works spanning his career, on view at 537 West 20th Street in New York.
In 2013, a major survey of the artist's recent work, Stan Douglas: Photographs 2008-2013, was presented at Carré d'Art - Musée d'Art Contemporain in Nîmes, France. It traveled as Stan Douglas: Mise en scène through 2015 to Haus der Kunst, Munich, followed by Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.
In 2015, The Secret Agent premiered as part of Stan Douglas: Interregnum at Wiels Centre d'Art Contemporain, Brussels. The film installation traveled to Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg in 2016.
Helen Lawrence is a multimedia theatre work conceived by Douglas. Created in close collaboration with acclaimed screenwriter Chris Haddock, the project innovatively merges theatre, visual art, live-action filming, and computer-generated imagery. Douglas worked with a team of 3D artists and programmers to virtually construct the set, which is further available to audience members to explore through a 3D augmented reality app called Circa 1948 produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Since the inaugural presentation at The Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver in March 2014, Helen Lawrence has been hosted by the Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich; Edinburgh International Festival; Canadian Stage, Toronto; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; deSingel, Antwerp; and Center for the Art of Performance, University of California, Los Angeles (co-organized by Los Angeles County Museum of Art).
Douglas has been the recipient of notable awards, including the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (2016); the third annual Scotiabank Photography Award (2013); and the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, New York (2012).
Over the past decade, Douglas's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions worldwide, including the Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2015); The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2014); Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris (2013); Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota (2012); The Power Plant, Toronto (2011); Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart (2007); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2005); kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2004); and the Serpentine Gallery, London (2002).
Major museum collections which hold works by the artist include the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; Vancouver Art Gallery; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.