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Douglas Gordon: Feature Film (1999) at Tate Modern

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Time 10:00
Date 01/09/19
Price Free
  • Produced by Tate Modern
  • Price Free
  • Get ready to get a lot closer to a conductor than you really ought to.
  • Bring along memories of Vertigo.
  • See you at Tate Modern

Feature Film 1999 focuses intimately on the animated body of conductor James Conlon, whilst he conducts the Opéra National de Paris as they perform the haunting soundtrack of Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Running until Sunday 01 September.

Gordon’s installation focuses on James Conlon, the principal conductor of the Paris Opera at the time. He leads a hundred-piece orchestra playing Bernard Herrmann’s score for the psychological thriller Vertigo1958, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Over 80 minutes, the combined length of all of the music in Vertigo, the camera never leaves Conlon. We follow his animated body, his agitated hands and his expressive face. The musicians are heard but never seen.

Herrmann’s score is an essential element of Hitchcock’s film. Endlessly circling and spiralling, the music perfectly matches the tale of duplicity and obsessive love. The original film is playing without sound on a monitor as part of the installation.

Gordon plays with the tension between what is shown and what is imagined or remembered. If you have seen Vertigo, then watching Feature Film may trigger memories of the original film. The artist suggests that this creates ‘some kind of conflict’ between the picture on the screen and the picture in your head.