Douglas Gordon's sharp new film series

The Turner-Prize winner returns to Morocco for his latest video series, on show during the Berlin Film Festival
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Still from Sharpening Fantasy, 2013
Still from Sharpening Fantasy, 2013

He's shot in Morocco before, for his Marrakesh snake charmer films, Natural Historie On The Parapet and Natural Historie on the Altar (2008); he's dealt with knives before, in 24 Hour Psycho (1993); and he touched on Europe's relationship with Maghrebi masculinity in Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (2006).

Now, for The 63rd Berlin Film Festival, the 46-year-old artist, Douglas Gordon will present a series of film works shot in Tangier, entitled Sharpening Fantasy, 2012. The footage sounds simple, and extremely effective; the works feature both the sound and the images of number of different knife grinders labouring in one of Tangiers' kasbahs, and will, according to his Berlin gallery, Blain Southern, present “collisions between Europe and the ‘Orient’, perception and prejudice, desire and fear.”

According to the gallery: “The viewer watches as the effortlessly repeated movements of the men are set to the soundtrack of their day’s work. Sharpening Fantasy, 2012 blurs the boundaries between the different sensory perceptions, between reality and fairy tale, between dramatic imagination and a more muted gaze.”

The films will be presented in Blain Southern's recently refurbished Berlin gallery, which once housed the printing presses of the daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, from February 7 to April 28.  It's perhaps unlikely to draw in the same size of crowds as Wong Kar Wai's 1930s-set martial arts film, The Grandmaster (2013) which opens the festival on 7 February; but if you're in the city next month, we really urge you to see it.

Gordon was the first artist to win the Turner Prize as a video artist in 1996, although he works across several other mediums, including text, photography and feature film. A recent visitor to his Berlin studio commented on a half-burnt portrait of Andy Warhol. 

He has apparently been obsessed with fire for all of his life: "We had a gas fire, but my cousins had a coal fire and I always loved the coal fire. I would sit and watch the fire when others would watch the telly," he told The Independent newspaper in December. When making his burnt portraits, he also almost set the Gagosian Gallery in New York alight. You can find out more about Douglas Gordon at Gagosian's site.

 


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