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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Doug Aitken

b. 1968, USA

The practice of Doug Aitken is most widely recognised as immersive, collaborative and engaged with both the art world and the wider world. This approach results in works in a variety of media such as video, sculpture and photography.

Aitken is perhaps best known for his 'nomadic happening', Station to Station (2013) in which he invited artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Patti Smith and Urs Fischer, amongst others, to participate in a cross-country nine-carriage train ride from New York to California, spontaneously collaborating to create art, food and music along the way. There were nine stops, and a 'happening' (an art-related performance event) occurred at each stop. The train was covered in LED screens; along the way a visual light installation continuously played. The project was intended as an alternative art experience. Instead of being held in a gallery or institution, the art travelled, grew and became a presence in every moment of the artist's life. In 2015, this event recreated itself at the Barbican Centre in the form of Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening. Described as a 'living exhibition', over its month-long existence it played host to more than 100 contemporary artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers and designers.

In late 2016, during his solo exhibition Doug Aitken: Electric Earth (10 September 2016–15 January 2017) at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Aitken installed Underwater Pavilions off the coast of Catalina Island, California. Underwater Pavilions consisted of three hexagon-shaped spheres submerged between five and 50 feet underwater. Viewers had to dive to view the work and could swim both in and around the spheres. The spheres contained panels sculpted from artificial rock and mirror. The mirrored surfaces induced a kaleidoscopic effect; in an interview with The New York Times Aitken remarked on the experience of this effect, 'I could see the ocean floor above me and the sun below me'. The objects' shiny and multifarious surfaces cause them to seem continuously in flux—affected by tides, sunlight, sun, fish and divers. Rather than sculptures or monuments, they are living things. The work is based on Aitken's philosophy that to make art living, one should immerse it in the real world and allow it to experience the flux of nature.

In 2017, Aitken participated in Desert X—the art biennial of Palm Springs, California, featuring 16 artists including Gabriel Kuri, Claudia Comte and Armando Lerma. For the event, Aitken created Mirage—a ranch-style home in Coachella Valley covered on every surface by mirrors. The ranch style of architecture was developed in the 1920s and 1930s by combining Frank Lloyd Wright's modernist architecture and traditional western ranches. After World War II, the style boomed and became a fixture of the Californian landscape. By turning the quintessential Californian architecture into a house of mirrors, Mirage may change with its surrounding nature—blending in but perhaps standing out even more so in the process. In the struggle between the natural and the artificial, the house plays on both sides. Aitken works with the materiality of the suburban west, illustrating the vast power of the landscape and the history of architecture's attempted encroachment upon it.

Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2017
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Featured Artworks

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NIGHT by Doug Aitken contemporary artwork Doug AitkenNIGHT, 2017 Aluminium, polished stainless steel, paint, high-density foam
80.6 x 252.7 x 43.2 cm
303 Gallery
HEAT by Doug Aitken contemporary artwork Doug AitkenHEAT, 2019 Foam, epoxy, screen print
152.4 x 152.4 x 25.4 cm
303 Gallery
Midnight Sun (distant view with pools) by Doug Aitken contemporary artwork Doug AitkenMidnight Sun (distant view with pools), 2019 Chromogenic transparency on acrylic in aluminium lightbox with LEDs
172.7 x 317.5 x 17.8 cm
303 Gallery
Fruit bowl (Orange and Highway) by Doug Aitken contemporary artwork Doug AitkenFruit bowl (Orange and Highway), 2018 Chromogenic transparency on acrylic in aluminium lightbox with LEDs
141 x 135.3 x 17.8 cm
303 Gallery
Sonic Table (Green Onyx Sound Table) by Doug Aitken contemporary artwork Doug AitkenSonic Table (Green Onyx Sound Table), 2011–2013 Wooden frame, green Onyx top
76.2 x 234.3 x 100.3 cm
303 Gallery
Untitled (sleeping woman) by Doug Aitken contemporary artwork Doug AitkenUntitled (sleeping woman), 2018 Chromogenic transparency on acrylic in aluminium lightbox with LEDs
108 x 460.4 x 17.8 cm
303 Gallery
Untitled (fruit bowl) by Doug Aitken contemporary artwork Doug AitkenUntitled (fruit bowl), 2018 Chromogenic transparency on acrylic in aluminium lightbox with LEDs
141 x 135.3 x 17.8 cm
303 Gallery
100 YRS by Doug Aitken contemporary artwork Doug Aitken100 YRS, 2014 Hand-carved foam, chrome paint, neon
162.6 x 223.5 x 25.4 cm
Victoria Miro

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Doug Aitken, New Era at 303 Gallery, New York
Closed
13 April–25 May 2018 Doug Aitken New Era 303 Gallery, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Protest at Victoria Miro, London
Closed
23 September–5 November 2016 Group Exhibition Protest Victoria Miro, Wharf Road, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Doug Aitken, Solo Exhibition at Victoria Miro, London
Closed
12 June–31 July 2015 Doug Aitken Solo Exhibition Victoria Miro, Mayfair, London

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Ocula Conversation Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Founder, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo started collecting contemporary art in 1992, after graduating from Torino University, where she studied business and economics. She began her collection with four works from the late-1950s and early-1960s by Italian artists: Carla Accardi, Tano Festa, Mario Merz and Salvatore Scarpitta. 'I enjoyed the idea of...

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The Lowdown: shows to see during Frieze week Ocula Report The Lowdown: shows to see during Frieze week 27 Apr 2018 : Robert Ayers for Ocula

With Frieze New York returning to Randall's Island Park from 4 to 6 May 2018, Ocula is on hand to offer a selection of exhibitions around the city, from Bushwick and the LES to Chelsea, Midtown and the Upper East Side.Exhibition view: Before the Fall: German and Austrian Art of the 1930s, Neue Galerie New York (8 March–28 May 2018). Courtesy Neue...

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In Related Press

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In the Swiss Alps, a Biennial Celebrates the Luxurious Part of the Art World Related Press In the Swiss Alps, a Biennial Celebrates the Luxurious Part of the Art World Hyperallergic : 18 February 2019

GSTAAD, Switzerland — Why travel to the Swiss Alps, if not for the benefits of breathing some rareified air? Elevation 1049 is a biennial now in its third iteration, produced by the Luma Foundation, and seeks to gather art world glitterati in the mountain town of Gstaad for a singular art festival experience — this year around the theme...

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Doug Aitken: Nomad Art Related Press Doug Aitken: Nomad Art Elephant : 5 July 2018

We meet at Doug Aitken's studio in Venice, California, a family home that has the trappings of that slow, laidback, always-sunny, gate-and-garden kind of modern California life, but the manic energy of a studio where multiple projects are coming together at once. I would call him a multimedia artist, but I'd rather have Aitken do the name-calling...

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'The Garden—End of Times; Beginning of Times' Related Press 'The Garden—End of Times; Beginning of Times' Art Agenda : 10 July 2017

The inaugural ARoS Triennial, The Garden—End of Times; Beginning of Times, opened in Aarhus, 2017's European Capital of Culture, on the morning that Donald Trump stood in the White House garden and announced his plans to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. ARoS's director, Erlend Høyersten, promises that this exhibition 'will thematize...

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A Mirrored House By Doug Aitken Reflects California's Desert Beauty and Solitude Related Press A Mirrored House By Doug Aitken Reflects California's Desert Beauty and Solitude Creators : 6 April 2017

Doug Aitken is an artist known for stretching the terms 'site-specific' and 'land art' to their fullest. He's made his name as one of the US's most prolific artists by submerging sculptures into the Pacific Ocean, sending a train across the country to display original art by several interdisciplinary artists, and drilling a hole 700-feet into the...

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In Related Video

Doug Aitken at Victoria Miro Mayfair Related Video & Audio Doug Aitken at Victoria Miro Mayfair 10 June 2015

This specific constellation of five key works has been conceived for Victoria Miro Mayfair by Doug Aitken and deals with contemporary ideas of time through the use of sound, touch, light and reflectivity, with each work existing in a zone between abstraction and representation. At the core of the exhibition is Eyes closed, wide awake...

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