Los Angeles, CA
For more than 20 years, Doug Aitken has shifted the perception and location of images and narratives. His multi-channel video installations, sculptures, photographs, publications, happenings, and architectural works demonstrate the nature and structure of our ever-mobile, ever-changing, image-based contemporary condition.
With a profound knowledge and understanding of the history of 20th-century avant-gardes, experimental music, and cinema, and an intimate kinship with the protest movements of the late 1960s, Aitken has invented a unique immersive aesthetic. Rooted in interdisciplinary collaborations, and the broad availability of images and the vulnerability of individuals, his work accounts for the cool but relentless human, industrial, urban, and environmental entropy that defines 21st-century existence.
Doug Aitken: Electric Earth, Aitken’s first North American survey, is organized as a full collaboration and dialogue with the artist. From his breakthrough installation diamond sea (1997) to his most recent event-based work Black Mirror (2011), the exhibition unfolds around the major moving-image installations that articulate his thematic interest in environmental and post-industrial decay, urban abandonment, and the exhaustion of linear time. Conceptualized as an entropic landscape suspended between city, broadcasting machine, and labyrinth, the exhibition is punctuated by the signs, sculptures, photographic images, and altered furniture—all unbound from vernacular language and culture—that Aitken has conceived over the years. The exhibition will also include Aitken’s less exhibited collages and drawings, as well as his work with architecture, printed matter, artist’s books, and graphic design. The exhibition’s logic incorporates that of the nomadic cultural incubator, cross-continental happening and moving earthwork Station to Station (2013), which, like so many of Aitken’s works, embraces a collaborative spirit across disciplines and beyond walls to reimagine the nature of what a work of art can be and of what an art experience can achieve.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, the generously illustrated exhibition catalog, Doug Aitken: Electric Earth, explores Doug Aitken’s work across mediums, disciplines, and themes. From photography to architecture, and from video to spoken word, Doug Aitken has delved into a variety of art forms to create a provocative body of work. This volume surveys the full scope and depth of Aitken’s work: sound pieces, sculpture, architectural experiments, land art and happenings, which embrace a collaborative spirit across disciplines and beyond walls, to re-imagine the nature of what a work of art can be. Interspersed with hundreds of color illustrations, the book’s essays examine the plethora of ideas the artist tackles―from environmental decay to the end of linear time―and explain how and why Aitken challenges many artistic barriers.