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Indepth Arts News:

"Stan Douglas: Le Detroit"
2001-03-31 until 2001-05-27
Kunsthalle Basel
Basel, , CH

Stan Douglas, born in Vancouver in 1960, is one of the most accomplished Canadian artists of the younger generation. His intricate film installations always link the identity of the selected venue and persons with a highly nuanced form of pictorial mediation. Frequently, they have some bearing on collective memories or make reference to an apparently forgotten local or regional history. In all his works of the last years Stan Douglas has shown himself to be a keen observer of psychological states and processes of social alienation.

The film installation Le Détroit, to be shown for the first time in Europe in the glass-roofed room of the Kunsthalle Basel, takes the viewers to the heart of a city that is haunted by dilapidation and unemployment and divided into strict social hierarchies. Over a six-minute sequence we follow a young black woman as she searches in an abandoned house for something that remains a mystery to us. The narrative is restarted over and over again in an endless loop.

The short story alludes to the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, 1959. Douglas also draws individual motifs from the Legends of Le Détroit edited by Marie Hamlin in 1884.

Le Détroit is a double projection on a semi-transparent screen. This gives rise to an interplay of blurred and reverse effect: the black-and-white film on the one side becoming superimposed with its white-black negative at a minimal time interval. The symbolic negative underscores the social tension generated in a place marked by traces of racially motivated conflict. Simultaneously Stan Douglas explores the potential and impact of film work.


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