Since the early 1990s, Douglas Gordon’s work in film, photography, sculpture and text has drawn on a deep seam of dualities – pleasure and pain, body and soul, good and evil, darkness and light – to mine a world of moral and emotional ambivalence.

As a medium of expression and a metaphor for emotion, hands have been recurrent in Gordon’s work for the past 25 years, notably in a number of videos on monitors which show one of the artist’s hands doing something pleasurable or horrible to other hand. In 'Feature Film' (1999), Gordon’s commission for Artangel, the artist continued his fatal attraction for the films of Alfred Hitchcock, first shown in his epic '24 Hour Psycho' (1993) with a cinematic portrait of the conductor James Conlon. The film focuses solely on Conlon’s features, and in particular his hands, as he leads the unseen orchestra of the Paris Opera playing Bernard Herrmann’s haunting music for Hitchcock’s 1958 classic Vertigo – itself an exploration of mistaken identity.

Gordon’s work frequently sides with a dark strain in Scottish culture exemplified by James Hogg’s 'The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner' (1824) and Robert Louis Stevenson’s 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde' (1886). Like a still from a film based on one of these dark tales, the large-scale photograph 'Private Passions' shows the artist’s hand holding a burning candle, suggesting the perverse pleasure of hot wax cooling on naked flesh.

First exhibited at Gagosian in London in 2011, 'Private Passions' was made at the same time as Gordon’s installation based on a film of a quartet playing Mozart’s 'k.364'. It was included in an important survey of Gordon’s work at the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt the same year, and at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne in 2014.

The large print is pinned within a wooden box frame, and is unglazed. This is the last print available from the edition of 7.


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About Douglas Gordon

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The work of Douglas Gordon has been the subject of numerous surveys including most recently Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (2017); Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris (2014); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2014); Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2013); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (2011–12); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2007); Museum of Modern Art, New York and MALBA, Buenos Aires (2006); Hayward Gallery, London (2002); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2001) and Tate Liverpool (2000). He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1996.

His work is in collections worldwide including: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Tate, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

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Private Passions, 2011
Lot Number 018
Digital C-type print
Work: 187.5 x 134.5 x 7 cm (73.82 x 52.95 x 2.76 in)
Frame: 187.5 x 134.5 x 7 cm (73.82 x 52.95 x 2.76 in)
3 of 7
Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian
Signed label on verso

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Douglas Gordon
Private Passions
  • Dimensions
    187.5 x 134.5 x 7 cm (73.82 x 52.95 x 2.76 in)