Since the late 1980s, Stan Douglas has created films and photographs—and more recently theater productions and other multidisciplinary projects—that investigate the parameters of their medium. His ongoing inquiry into technology's role in image-making, and how those mediations infiltrate and shape collective memory has resulted in works that are at once specific in their historical and cultural references and broadly accessible. Since the beginning of his career, photography has been a central focus of Douglas's practice, utilized at first as a means of preparing for his films and eventually as a powerful pictorial tool in its own right. The artist is influenced in particular by media theorist Vilém Flusser's notion of the photographic image as an encoded language that is determined by a specific set of technological, social, cultural, and political circumstances.
Stan Douglas was born in 1960 in Vancouver, where he continues to live and work. He studied at Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver in the early 1980s. Douglas was one of the first artists to be represented by David Zwirner, where he had his first American solo exhibition in 1993.
Douglas’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions worldwide since the 1980s. In 2016, Stan Douglas: Luanda-Kinshasa was presented at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Stan Douglas: Interregnum opened at WIELS Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels, in 2015 and traveled to Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, the following year. In 2013, a major survey of the artist’s 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.
Other major solo presentations of the artist’s work include those held at Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2015); The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2014); Minneapolis Institute of Arts (2012); Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart (2007); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2005); Serpentine Gallery, London (2002); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1994); and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1987). The artist’s work was featured in the Venice Biennale in 1990, 2001, and 2005, and in documenta in 1992, 1997, and 2002.
The artist has also been selected to participate in La Biennale di Venezia, 58th International Art Exhibition. Curated by Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery in London, the exhibition is titled May You Live In Interesting Times and will be on view from May 11 through November 24, 2019.
Douglas’s first multimedia theater production, Helen Lawrence, debuted at The Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver, in March 2014 and has subsequently 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).
Work by the artist is held in major museum collections, including 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; Pérez Art Museum Miami; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; Vancouver Art Gallery; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.