The very American art of Doug Aitken is, most of it anyway, at once transcendent and dangerously of the now. He is in that sense a pop artist proper. He is also able and agile in many medium and an assembler of performances (he has fantastic taste in musical collaborators) and creative happenings. His art can be big, clever, embracing of technology, accessible, often happens outdoors or on giant or multiple screens and sometimes – as with Station to Station (2013-2015) and New Horizons (2019) – moves on tracks or through the air.
Sometimes though it is quiet and small, willing to be contained in a gallery space. His new show at London’s Victoria Miro gallery, Wharf Road branch, is that but as powerfully affecting as anything he has done. ‘Return to the Real’ is Aitken’s device to make us think about our devices, the experiential subletting to Instagram, the squeal and squawk of social media. ‘It’s a counterpoint to that world of de-materiality and speed,’ he says, ‘and about seeking something which is unique or being in a place which is physical and tactile or a moment which is unrepeatable.’
Image: Doug Aitken, All doors open, 2019
Photography: © Doug Aitken
Courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich; Victoria Miro, London/Venice; and Regen Projects, Los Angeles