Politician, salesman, party planner, writer, exhibition designer, art handler, janitor. Young gallerists and curators, even influential artists, have been wearing many hats since the beginnings of the 20th century avant-garde movements.
What an artist might lack in objectivity, he or she can make up for in passion and on-the-ground knowledge. It’s unavoidable to acknowledge all these when experiencing the first Berlin solo show of an ex-institutional head-curator in a humble but dead-serious artist-run-space.
Attention! This is not the fashionable, over-intellectualized (full of neologisms) exercise in the Exhibition as a Medium, but an authentic midlife experience of freedom to produce and control his artistic output and have a say in how it is exhibited. What else could it be after a 5-year hiatus?
A product of the American experience and the 90s revival of conceptualist and formalist tendencies, Douglas is a seasoned producer of the infinite variations of that old fashioned but Art-shattering idea of the Objet Trouvé.
Regarding his main subjects (and since all art is, to a lesser or greater degree, autobiographic), I’ll avoid referring to details and concede that Douglas focuses on the exhilarating feeling of love and denial as much as an overt and practical joke on art-as-an-institution. Not that you will find any obvious visual representations of his feelings or ideals, but maybe some aftertaste if you are inclined to read and relate formal elements to several meanings. After the art we have seen during the past 100 years, objects’ physical characteristics and contextual references are definitively suggestive. Douglas is also keen on metaphors and suggestive displacements, teasing our perception with scale changes, curious placing and lyrical titles.
One thing is for sure; the detonator-objects, from where he develops every piece, coexist in a global reality that marvels him, to then slowly become a personal experience and a reference to the human condition.
His gathering of detonator-objects (or images) range between craft to naïf advertisement, from vintage digital devices or high and low-tech industrial manufacturing to traditional artisanal technics. In the choreographed gallery context, there is a non-hierarchical but clear amalgamation of different cultural productions that establish relationships and lends the selection a strong ethnographic or anthropologic approach. Hopefully you could relate to them too, in your own way.
Berlin, December 2020