In the first episode of a new series of A brush with..., Ben Luke talks to the Canadian artist Stan Douglas about his influences—including writers, film-makers, musicians, and, of course, other artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped his life and work.
Douglas was born in 1960 in Vancouver, where he currently lives and works. He is one of the leading pioneers of video installation and large-scale photography, scrutinising different media to explore how they shape our understanding of reality. He does so through making often unexpected connections between contemporary and historical events, and rich references to music and literature.
In this conversation, he discusses his early interest in Marcel Duchamp, the enduring power of artists as diverse as Francisco de Goya and Agnes Martin, his endless fascination with Samuel Beckett, and how his love of Miles Davis’s underrated album On the Corner prompted one of his best works, Luanda-Kinshasa (2013).
• Stan Douglas’s project for the 59th Venice Biennale, 2011 ≠ 1848, is in the Canadian Pavilion in the Giardini and the Magazzini del Sale, Venice, until 27 November.