In his third solo show at 303 Gallery, Doug Aitken presents two new works that continue his exploration of landscape, communication, and transformation.
In the eraser installation, multiple video projections wind through three rooms and investigate the effects of the Soufrières volcano on the small Caribbean island of Monserrat, following a perfectly linear seven-mile path from the North to the South of the island. In the process of making this journey, viewers encounter a transformation that takes them from a tranquil garden island to a landscape that reaches a point of complete abstraction, an ultimately reductive silver-gray landscape absent of any light, form or human activity--a void of absolute emptiness and neutrality. The transition to this alien landscape takes us through formerly inhabited terrain closed to the outside world since the volcano’s eruptions in 1995.
The second work, these restless minds, presents viewers with a complete environment incorporating manipulated light sources, subtlely painted walls, and material alterations of the gallery’s normal flooring. Three monitors alternately show footage of rural auctioneers and of landscapes caught between the natural and the industrial. The auctioneers are seen out of their customary settings, isolated, and in stark and empty locations. In their distinctive cadences, the auctioneers deliver high speed numerical countdowns, interspersed with observations about their surroundings. As the auctioneers’ words, their series of numbers and telegraphic descriptions, become increasingly faster and less and less discernible, they exceed intelligibility and approach a fusion with the environment.
Doug Aitken was recently featured in a cover article for frieze magazine and Taka Ishii in Japan has just published an artist’s book, entitled Metallic Sleep. His work can also be seen now at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany.