Currently on display in the Contemporary Galleries at MoMA is a work by Scottish artist Douglas Gordon called Play Dead; Real Time, 2013.
For the monumental installation Play Dead; Real Time, Gordon arranged for a circus elephant to be transported to Gagosian Gallery, in New York City, where he filmed it obeying a series of commands (repeatedly lying down and then awkwardly struggling to rise). Like many of Gordon’s protagonists, the elephant is subject to greater forces, beyond its control.
This work certainly peaked my interest and made me feel very emotional when I spent several minutes taking in the movements of this elephant, the great challenge he overcame each time he was trying with all his strength to get up and fall back down, following the repeated commands he was subjected to in the performative space of the gallery.
Douglas Gordon came of age with a generation of artists drawn to critiquing and deconstructing media technology. Over the past two decades, he has produced text-based and photographic works as well as video installations, often based on cinematic imagery, that investigate the construction of meaning and the notion of the sublime.
Sarah Kennedy, Associate Educator