Doug Aitken edits together frenetic and unique models of contemporary experience to create a new landscape, one in which he hopes we find points of anchor and experience a sense of connection. He employs a number of post studio artistic mediums. In each of his artworks, he chooses the medium or combination that amplifies and visually articulates the subject’s qualities. The scale of his work can vary from a simple photograph to a complex moving sculpture of infinitely reflective automated mirrors. Quasi-narrative films create intricate mazes of open-ended stories told across reinterpreted physical architecture.
By Efi Michalarrou
Photo: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth Archive
The exhibition “Electric Earth” is the first survey to comprehensively examine the full breadth of Doug Aitken’s work. The exhibition comprises 7 major, large-scale moving-image Installations, from his earliest multichannel video installation, “diamond sea” (1997), to more recent performance-based works such as “Black Mirror” (2011), in addition to the live sound installation “Sonic Fountain II” (2013-15), numerous sculptures, photographs, collages, a program of single-channel films, and documentation of site-specific architectural projects. It unfolds around the major moving-image installations that articulate the artist’s central thematic concerns: the end of linear time, environmental depredation, unprecedented technological mediation, self-contained and decentralized communication, and the incursion of commerce into our social relationships. For “Song 1” (2012-15), a video work that was projected onto the facade of the Hirshhorn in 2012, Aitken is building a 360-degree, double-sided screen that will appear to float in the center of the Geffen. Visitors can wander in, around and through the work. For “migration (empire)” (2008) a multichannel video depicting wild animals that Aitken let loose in roadside motel rooms, he built sculptural billboards that will be lined up. Images of the animals, a deer nudging the mini fridge, a buffalo charging the furniture, jump from billboard to billboard. MOCA does own, and has exhibited, Aitken’s video installation “Electric Earth” (1999) which earned him the International Prize that year at the Venice Biennale and which is also on view. The exhibition’s logic incorporates that of Aitken’s nomadic cultural incubator, cross-continental happening, and moving earthwork “Station to Station” (2013), which, like many of Aitken’s works, embraced a collaborative spirit across disciplines and beyond walls to reimagine what a work of art can be and what an art experience can do. Similarly, a robust roster of accompanying public programs highlights how, over the course of his career, Aitken has been a creative conductor, bringing together musicians, performers, thinkers, other visual artists, and the public at large to experience collective cultural happenings. Doug Aitken’s linear films are screened in chronological order in conjunction with the exhibition. These films are screened in the auditorium.
Film Program: Tue-Fri: 11:00 “inflection” (1992), 11:05 “i’d die for you” (1993), 11:15 “hysteria” (1998), 11:22 “eraser” (1998), 11:37 “i am in you” (2000), 11:48 “interiors” (2002), 11:55 “sleepwalkers” (2007), 12:11 “the handle comes up, the hammer comes down” (2009), 12:16 “Frontier” (2009), 12:34 “black mirror” (2011), Sat: 10:00 “inflection” (1992), 10:05 “i’d die for you” (1993), 10:15 “hysteria” (1998), 10:22 “eraser” (1998), 10:37 “i am in you” (2000), 10:48 “interiors” (2002), 10:55 “sleepwalkers” (2007), 11:11 “the handle comes up, the hammer comes down” (2009), 11:16 “Frontier” (2009), 11:34 “black mirror” (2011).
Info: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth, Texas, Duration: 28/5-20/8/17, Days & Hours: Tue 10:00-19:00, Wed-Thu & Sat-Sun 10:00-17:00, Fri 10:00-20:00, www.themodern.org