15.09.2007 – 06.01.2008

Stan Douglas. Past Imperfect

Photography, video and film installations since the 1980s

From the 15th September, 2007 until the 6th January, 2008, the Württembergische Kunstverein and the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart will be presenting within a space covering 4,000 sq. metres the first comprehensive exhibition of the works of Canadian artist Stan Douglas. The exhibition will encompass fourteen video and film installations, as well as numerous photographs.

Born in Vancouver, in 1960, Stan Douglas ranks among the most important of contemporary artists. He has participated in the Documenta three times (1992, 1997, 2002) as well as in the Venice Biennale (1990, 2001, 2005) and his works have been shown at numerous additional biennales. It is in Stuttgart that his principal works of the last twenty years will be shown and experienced for the first time in a large-scale show. Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ (Directors of the Württembergischer Kunstverein) developed the large-scale show in close collaboration with Stan Douglas.

As no other artist, Douglas has been able to enlarge in both a sensual and intellectual way the experience of the cinematic and museum space. With recourse to the intellectual, cultural and ideological traditions of modernity, his works exemplify a critical revision of Western history, past and present. It is the failure of modern utopias and the “ghosts” they spawned which form some of the artist’s central themes.
Behind almost all the works is an examination of a particular place – Potsdam, Vancouver, Cuba or Detroit –, the respective histories of which are reflected along the various literary, filmic or musical references the artist uses: as, for example, E.T.A. Hoffman’s “Der Sandmann” (Sandmann), Melville’s “The Confidence-Man” (Journey into Fear), the Grimm fairy tales or Marx’s “Capital” (both in Suspiria).

Both his most recent video installations, Klatsassin and Video, revolve around two fields of analysis which Douglas has reflected since the 1980s and that substantially shape his oeuvre: the emergence of Western empires in the “New World”, on the one hand and the work of Samuel Beckett on the other. For instance, Douglas already curated an exhibition on Beckett’s “Teleplays” in 1988. His recently produced video installation, Video, refers to Beckett’s film “Film” starring Buster Keaton, and to Franz Kafka’s novel “The Trial”.

Taking place at two locations, the exhibition is conceived as one project and is to be accompanied by a catalogue.

A joint project of the
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart and the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

Hans D. Christ, Iris Dressler

in cooperation with
Sean Rainbird, Gudrun Inboden

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