Peninsula Arts Gallery shows work by Turner Prize winning artist Douglas Gordon
Douglas GordonSelf Portrait of You + Me (David Bowie), 2007. Burnt photographic print, smoke and mirror. © Studio lost but found / DACS 2016

Three-time world footballer of the year Zinedine Zidane, acclaimed film director Sir Alfred Hitchcock and music icon David Bowie will be among those making an appearance in Plymouth later this month.

They will all feature in a showcase of work by Turner Prize winning artist Douglas Gordon, which will be staged in the Peninsula Arts Gallery at Plymouth University from September 24 to November 19.

The Searching for Genius exhibition – which will explore ideas about talent, virtuosity and genius – will also include items of local and historical importance such as the spectacles of Sir Joshua Reynolds, a Plymothian and founder of the Royal Academy.

And its launch will take place during the second Plymouth Art Weekender, a three-day event which aims to celebrate Plymouth, its people and the visual arts, promoting the city as an exciting contemporary art destination.

Douglas Gordon is a Scottish video and installation artist, whose work is often based on a disruption of perception, asking audiences to question how we give meaning to our experience of things. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1996 and represented the UK at the Venice Biennale the following year.

Some of his notable works to be shown during the Plymouth exhibition include Feature Film, comprised of two large wall projections showing the same closely cropped footage of a conductor’s hands and face.

For 24 Hour Psycho, Hitchcock’s iconic film is slowed so that it runs for an entire day and night, and Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, which portrays a football match in April 2005 between Real Madrid and Villareal through the eyes of the former French national captain.

The exhibition will also feature works from Gordon’s Blind Stars series, in which publicity photographs of Omar Sharif, Johnny Cash, Oliver Reed and David Bowie are singed at the eyes to reveal a mirror beneath.

Each element of the exhibition will be accompanied by talks from Plymouth University academics, enabling audiences to explore Gordon’s creative practice and influence.

The exhibition is part of a series for which Peninsula Arts has brought together a talented team of curators, artists and academic advisers to present a line-up of exhibitions, films, talks, performances and music events that all respond to the theme of ‘searching’.

Dr Sarah Chapman, Director of Peninsula Arts, said:

“It is a real coup to have the work of Douglas Gordon in the city. He is an important contemporary artist whose work challenges many assumptions about talent and popular culture. The exhibition also provides a unique opportunity to explore Gordon’s work alongside the ideas of one of Plymouth’s key historical artists and thinkers, Sir Joshua Reynolds, inviting audiences to reconsider what is meant by genius, virtuosity, education and skill.”

Searching for Genius is a History Centre partnership project delivered by Peninsula Arts and Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery, in conjunction with Art Angel, Esmee Fairbairn and the Foyle Foundation.

'Searching' season

This year Peninsula Arts have brought together a talented team of curators, artists and academic advisors to present a line-up of exhibitions, films, talks, performances and music events that all respond to the theme of ‘Searching’. 

The continual search for knowledge and understanding of the world around us is what underpins and fuels university life and so ‘Searching’ seemed a prescient way to launch into the new academic year. Whether the search is for home, for identity or new experiences, this season’s programme is sure to delight and stretch your imagination in many ways.

Image: Douglas Gordon Self Portrait of You + Me (David Bowie), 2007. Burnt photographic print, smoke and mirror. © Studio lost but found / DACS 2016