Gordon was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He studied at Glasgow School of Art, 1984 - 1988 and the Slade School of Art, London, 1988 - 1990. He has won numerous awards including the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery, London in 1996, the Premio 2000 at the XLVII Venice Biennale in 1997, and the Hugo Boss Prize at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1998.

Gordon works in a varied selection of media. He has used performance, painting, installation, text and in particular, film, both original and appropriated from other sources, for his investigations into perception, memory and amnesia. For his first solo exhibition, at Tramway, Glasgow in 1993, he made what is now regarded as a seminal work, 24 Hour Psycho. It was the first time in which he used existing film footage, slowing down the famous Alfred Hitchcock film to a few frames per minute, with the result that it took an entire day to watch the film from beginning to end. Gordon has said of this work: "The viewer is pulled back into the past in remembering the original, then pushed into the future in anticipation of a preconceived narrative that will never appear fast enough."

In 2005, Gordon worked in collaboration with French artist and film-maker Philippe Parreno to produce Zidane, a feature length film portrait of the world renowned French footballer Zinedine Zidane. By using 17 synchronised cameras focusing solely on Zidane, Gordon creates a multidimensional space allowing the viewer to get an intimate insight into the movements of the famous athlete.

Gordon has exhibited extensively in Britain and internationally. He has had major solo exhibitions at Tate Britain, London, 2010; the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1993 and 2000; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1995; Kunstverein Hannover, 1998; Centro Cultural de Belem, Lisbon, 1999, and the Hayward Gallery, London in 2002. He has participated in numerous group shows including Spellbound: Art and Film at the Hayward Gallery, London, 1996, Wounds: Between Democracy and Redemption in Contemporary Art, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1998 and Intelligence: New British Art 2000, Tate Britain, London.

Made in Britain Contemporary Art from the British Council Collection 1980-2010,China federation of Literary and Art Circles Publishing Corporation 2010. ISBN 978-7-5059-7014-4.