American video and installation artist Doug Aitken (b.1968) exploded onto the international art scene with his multi-screen work electric earth, which captivated audiences at the Venice and Whitney biennales in 1999. This work focused on the bizarre nocturnal experiences of a young man exploring the edges of Los Angeles, presenting dream-like sequences that rearrange the linear flow of narrative into a series of unforgettable, disjointed photographic tableaux. Like much of his work, it contrasts the high-tech speed of contemporary daily life with the monotony of the urban landscape. In other works he has explored the eerie, desterted atmosphere of Jonestown, Guyana, the site of the notorious mass suicide of religious cultists (monsoon, 1997); a remote diamond-mining region of Namibia, closed to outsiders since 1908 (diamond sea, 1997); and the collective dreams of India's Bollywood film industry (into the sun, 1999). Portraying some of contemporary art's most beautiful imagery, Aitken's installations encircle the viewer, creating a suspended, hyperreal portrait of contemporary life.
In the survey, curator and critic Daniel Birnbaum sets Aitken's art within the context of contemporary philosophy and the work of other recent artists who have explored expanded notions of time and space. In the Interview, Frieze publisher and critic Amanda Sharp discusses the artist's working methods, while in the Focus section critic Jorg Heiser looks at Aitken's i am in you (2000), a five-screen work centring on the imaginative experiences of a young girl. For his Artist's Choice Aitken has selected a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, whose description of altered realities through the distortions of mirrors and memory echoes the artist's own interests. Artist's Writings include Aitken's retelling of an unusual story he once heard from strangers, which served as the basis for subsequent video work.
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(290mm x 250mm x 18mm)
Phaidon Press Ltd
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Author Biography - Doug Aitken
Daniel Birnbaum is a contributing editor of Artforum and the author of several books on art and philosophy, including The Hospitality of Presence: Problems of Otherness in Husserl's Phenomenology (1998) and, with the artist Carsten Holler, Production (2000). From 1998 to 2000 he was the Director of IASPIS, an artists' residency programme based in Stockholm. Since 2001 he has been the Director of Portikus and the Stadelschule Art Academy, both in Frankfurt. Amanda Sharp the Publisher and Co-Founder of Frieze magazine and the Co-Director of the Frieze Art Fair. Jorg Heiser has been Associate Editor of Frieze magazine since 1998. As a writer on art and contemporary culture he has contributed to German journals and newspapers including Texte zur Kunst, Suddeutsche Zeitung and Zuricher Tagesanzeiger.