fbpx Douglas Gordon, if when why what | CIRCA 20:22

CIRCA 20:22

Douglas Gordon, if when why what

8-31 December

This December 2022, CIRCA presents if when why what (2018–22) by Douglas Gordon. Launching Thursday, December 8, Gordon’s eye will take over the Piccadilly Lights screen in London’s Piccadilly Circus for an extended ten-minute presentation. The work will also appear across a global network of screens (Berlin, Melbourne, Milan, New York, and Seoul) every evening at 20:22 (8:22pm) local time throughout December. The never-before-seen work examines the history of the surrounding area, in particular Soho’s relationship with the erotic entertainment industry, focusing on the neighborhood’s iconic neon signage. The project is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Douglas Gordon: Neon Ark at Gagosian, Davies Street, London.

Douglas Gordon’s commission explores the history of London’s Soho neighbourhood. While Soho’s entertainment industry is the focus of Gordon’s commission, instead of depicting the neighbourhood’s protagonists of strippers, dancers and hostesses, Gordon has chosen the locales’ neon signs as the focus, reflected in a close-up of the artist’s eye. Investigating our collective memory and the passage of time, if when why what explores many universal dualities and antagonisms such as life and death, right and wrong, innocence and guilt, dread and temptation.

Douglas Gordon:

Some words simply look better in neon.

Neon – it’s a gas – is the number 10 (of course) in the periodic table.

Neon was not invented but ‘discovered’ and quickly became a byword or a symbol for the very essence of discovery. 

The thin glass tubes, buzzing with this new vibrant element inside beckoned viewers to come on in, don’t be shy, take a chance, accept a dare and tell / don’t tell your friends…

Discovered in London, by a Glaswegian at the turn of the 20th century, it seemed natural for me to fall in love with it – first seeing signs in black and white movies and later ‘the real thing’ on Dean Street, Old Compton Street and Piccadilly Circus.

Run away from home to join the circus ?!?!

Maybe some words read better in neon – maybe some people look better under neon, maybe some places…

Screen locations

20:22 GMT London, Piccadilly Lights

20:22 CET Milan, Cadorna Square, EssilorLuxottica

20:22 CET Berlin, Limes, Kurfürstendamm

20:22 KST Seoul, COEX K-Pop Square

20:22 EST New York, Times Square,  EssilorLuxottica

20:22 ACT ➳  Melbourne, Fed Square 



06/12/2022 Press Release: Douglas Gordon, if when why what