For the inaugural edition of Frieze Los Angeles, 303 Gallery is thrilled to exhibit a solo presentation of Doug Aitken’s work.
Through the works on view, Aitken leads us to explore conflicting notions of collectivity and isolation in contemporary urban life. The presentation raises questions about the nature of language, communication and social relationships, in an era of technological saturation.
The lightbox sculpture, Midnight Sun (distant view with pools), 2019, depicts a Los Angeles night scene: a solid white quadrilateral shape extends into the center of the image, suggesting a diving board over an illuminated swimming pool. The artificial blue glow of the water is echoed by the hazy city lights ablaze in the distance, starkly contrasting with the black, starless sky. The image suggests a cinematic, eerie vision of our time as a state of perpetual oscillation between self-containment and unbridled hyper-connectivity.
HEAT, 2019, is composed of three-dimensional capital letters spelling out its title, pitting textual meaning against pictorial references. Seen frontally, the imagery exists in a twilight between abstraction and representation. Washes of color reveal collaged images of civil rights protest and unrest. When viewed in profile, the white surrounds of each letter appear to be dripping, or perhaps melting, into the wall.
Fruit bowl (Orange and Highway), 2018, mines the history of still life painting from the 1600s to late 1800s, where an arrangement of static, familiar objects becomes an entry point for narrative storytelling. Here we find this motif revisited in the early 21st-century. Pictures of fruit are layered with planets and circular cut-outs of organic textures, framing a wide-angle view of a stretch of asphalt. The images register as both realistic and artificial, a visual tension that transforms into a sense of motion and flux. Where still lives of the past were lit by natural sources, here electricity illuminates the scene.
Sonic Table (Green Onyx Sound Table), 2011-2013, acts as social sculpture, opening onto new possibilities for interaction and dialogue. It is both a functional table and, when played, becomes an instrument. As a conversation trails off, sound and music can continue the discussion. The stone inlay of the table’s surface functions as a lithophone, offering a percussive proxy for verbalization.
Widely known for his innovative fine art installations, Doug Aitken utilizes a full array of artistic approaches to pose philosophical inquiries about the cultural challenges of our time. Aitken’s work has been featured in exhibitions around the world, in such institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Vienna Secession; Serpentine Gallery, London; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Mirage Gstaad, a site-specific architectural installation and the central work of “Elevation 1069: Frequencies,” open February 1, 2019 in Gstaad, Switzerland, will remain on view for two years. Aitken earned the International Prize at the Venice Biennale for the installation electric earth, the 2012 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize, the 2013 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award: Visual Arts, and the 2017 Frontier Art Prize.