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Introduction
1996

Douglas Gordon is first artist to win Turner Prize with film and video work

The 1996 Turner Prize presented two significant anomalies: Glasgow born Douglas Gordon was the first winner to be based outside of London and the only artist since the prize was inaugurated in 1984 to win with moving image work (the first artist to be nominated for moving image work was Willie Doherty in 1994.) Nominated alongside Craigie Horsefield, Gary Hume and Simon Patterson, the all male line-up raised questions at the time around gender balance in the arts. Works shown in the Turner Prize exhibition included Confessions of a Justified Sinner, a dual projection of the 1932 version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which looped the demonic transformation of Jekyll to Hyde over and over again. The work for which Douglas had previously come to national and international attention was 24 Hour Psycho, a large scale projection of Hitchcock's Psycho slowed down to approximately two frames a minute so that it runs for an entire day; this was first shown at and commissioned by Tramway in 1993. Although Gordon works across other media, such as photography and text, he is best known for his large scale video installations that deal with the symbolic struggle between good and evil. Often using iconic films to embody the complexities and ambiguities of these notions, the artist employs both the techniques of doubling and of dramatically altering the pace of a film so that what was familiar to cultural memory becomes strange and fresh again. The artist avoids copyright issues that would ordinarily present themselves when appropriating film material since 'the work' is the act of slowing down or looping rather than re-editing the film: for example, a gallery wishing to exhibit 24 Hour Pyscho would be loaned the mechanism to slow the film down - the actual film used would an ordinary VHS copy of Psycho, legally obtained and screened according to the original ratio. Gordon's selection as winner of the Turner Prize marks a key moment when film and video work moved further into the mainstream UK art world; other Turner Prize nominees and winners working with film and video installations include Steve McQueen, Jane & Louise Wilson, Gillian Wearing, Tacita Dean, Sam Taylor-Wood and Isaac Julien.

Marie-Anne McQuay

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Stills from Douglas Gordon's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Courtesy Lisson Gallery & the artist
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