The work is an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's 1907 political novel of the same name. The book is set in London in 1886 and follows the tale of an anarchist failed attempt to bomb the Greenwich Observatory. It is considered one of the first fiction depictions of terrorism.

The nonlinear novel has inspired, Douglas' work, which is set around Portugal's ''Hot Summer'' of 1975, which ended the troubles of the Carnation Revolution. During this time, the country was devastated by the terrorism of extremists groups.

Douglas portrays Conrad's secret agent, Mr. Verloc, as a member of the US Embassy in Portugal. He becomes intwined in a plot to bomb the Marconi installation.

The work consists of twelve episodes on six screens which are intended to be viewed looking out from the center of the installation, immersing the viewer in the disjointed, nonlinear action. The climax of the story is created via the narrative, but never actually shown to the viewer.

Douglas notes: “It enables us to look at transitional moments throughout history in a different way and to reflect on how things might have turned out differently. Maybe we can get closer to the truth by telling a fictional story instead of an obsessive search for strictly factual events. Perhaps exaggeration enables you to portray a time period more accurately than historical precision.”

The Secret Agent was premiered in 2015 at the Stan Douglas: Interregnum at Wiels Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels and at Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon.

Douglas has been represented by Zwirner since 1993. Douglas received the 2016 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. He was a recipient of other notable awards, including the third annual Scotiabank Photography Award in 2013 and the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, New York in 2012.

The opening viewing will held on March 31 at 519, 525 & 533 West 19th Street from 6-8pm. Viewings are free and the exhibition will be held until April 30. For more information, see here.