Exhibition of Canadian artist Stan Douglas' major works at Fruitmarket Gallery
- Neil Cooper
- 12 November 2014
Featuring videos and images such as 'Video', 'Corrupt Files' and 'Der Sandmann'
When Stan Douglas' play, Helen Lawrence, played as part of this year's Edinburgh International Festival, its live depiction of a post-WW2 film noir beamed against a 3D photographic backdrop. The work looked at the class and racial divides of Vancouver's run-down Hogan's Alley district, later cleaned up then razed in the name of urban renewal.
The 3D remains of Hogan's Alley can be seen in Douglas' remarkable large-scale image that forms part of his new Fruitmarket show. Also here will be ‘Video’, which recasts Orson Welles' film of Kafka's The Trial with a Senegalese woman in the Parisian suburb of La Courneuve, where some of the worst violence of 2005's riots took place.
‘Sarkozy was still minister of the interior when we shot the piece,’ says Douglas, ‘and his office tried to shut our production down, even though we had made deals with the local mayor and local gangs. The police were afraid we would start a riot, but in the end we were allowed to shoot exteriors between 4am and 7am.’
The show will also feature Douglas' ‘Corrupt Files’ series of ‘acts of photographic disobedience’, as well as his 1997 piece, ‘Der Sandmann’, which juxtaposes footage of an urban garden in Potsdam outside Berlin alongside film of the building site it later became.
‘“Der Sandmann” came out of being in Berlin a few years after the Wall came down,’ Douglas explains. ‘As in Helen Lawrence, the setting is one in which the urban fabric of a place is being radically transformed. DDR buildings were being destroyed, Imperial Prussian ones were being restored and there was an influx of western capital intending to make nearby Wansee a luxury resort again. It felt like multiple times were inhabiting the same space and that's what “Der Sandmann” looks like.’
Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 15 Feb.