Stan Douglas: DCTs and Scenes from the Blackout
David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new photographs by Stan Douglas—the artist’s fourteenth solo exhibition with the gallery—at 525 West 19th Street in New York. On view will be works from two recent series, DCT (2016–ongoing) and Blackout (2017), that together illustrate the artist’s overarching interest in the nature of photographic representation and its relationship to reality.
Since the late 1980s, Douglas has created films and photographs—and more recently theater productions and other multidisciplinary projects—that investigate the parameters of their medium. His wide-ranging 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 is, for me, an artist engaged with time on behalf of the present. That is where ‘he’ is, and where ‘I’ am, and where history is happening . . . His media: the media; his tools: research, narrative, suspense, the imagination, and history . . . In time and in media, no work of Douglas’s is single-layered." —Mieke Bal, "Time on Show: Heterochrony in the Work of Stan Douglas," published in the catalogue for Stan Douglas, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 2014
In 2016, Stan Douglas received the annual Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. In addition to an honorary solo exhibition at the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Hasselblad Foundation and MACK copublished a comprehensive catalogue on Douglas’s work with a foreword by Louise Wolthers and Dragana Vujanovic and text by Noam M. Elcott, as well as a conversation between the artist and Roxana Marcoci, Senior Curator of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
"I’m looking at the material of photography, the materials of light. Thinking about photography as an optical image in the broadest sense and examining one very particular aspect of how JPEG images are made . . . What happens in effect is that an image is turned into a code, into writing, so I figured that if we can turn an image into writing I should be able to write an image . . . Materialist photography is something I want to pursue in the future, which is what I’m doing now with the DCTs." —Stan Douglas in conversation with Roxana Marcoci in the publication accompanying the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, which the artist was awarded in 2016