Douglas Gordon: 33 Degrees of Enlightenment

This work by Douglas Gordon is from the exhibition PREPASTPOSTCONTINOUS with Miroslaw Balka at Dvir Gallery in Israel.

I came upon an image of this work in the latest Flash Art International in an article which bizarrely talks about one of Balka’s works that is not pictured in the article, and says nothing at all about this Gordon work that is.

33degrees 1

Douglas Gordon, 2012, 33 degrees of enlightenment [pencil]

33 Degrees 2


33 Degrees 3

The sentences are repetitive, although the words shift and change.  I enjoy the way it is lyrical and rhythmic, and yet also nonsensical.  The more you read the less sure the meaning becomes.  I’m interested in the way that language, a communication tool, is used in a way that causes it to become meaningless.  Or, not meaningless so much as less able to be understood… which is not quite the same thing.

Also interesting is that the words are the places where the mark making is absent.  It is the ground that is inscribed, leaving the white as a ghost mark… the absence of mark is where the message lies.


  1. great work, I found it became obsessive, bit like a memory game. I was trying to find groups of words that were the same and then trying to link them and yes in the end it all blurred together as a group of words.

    1. It makes feel as though the sentences are dissolving. Who is guiding who? And is there darkness or not? I really does become a little obsessive (and would have had to be obsessively drawn too!)

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