Standing almost inside (close enough to get tapped of the shoulder as a warning not to stick my head further in) a Doug Aitken mirror sculpture last night, I saw myself in the perspective, perhaps, of a bug! Shattered geometric reality was everywhere. Optical illusions abound. The words NOW, RUN, END and EXIT were lit on the walls in some profoundly large, illuminated and even bright red ways. This is not an ordinary gallery exhibition at Regen Projects in Hollywood, this was an experience of provocative multiple realities in a really primal way. While I hope you can see it for yourself, these small soundbytes and snapshots are just a glimmer of how this work and these ideas can unearth new ways of seeing the world.
At the end of a long side passageway, walking through walls that looked almost exploded open to hearken the Flintstone era, there is sonic fountain that looks like a melting cave. If you watch it for a moment, you will see the smallest drips of water amplified by microphones, making sounds like chimes echoing in wind.
Even the smallest pieces of life, like drops of water, make a sound. Amplify that sound and you create a garden of surprise where suddenly you have to pay attention to each drop because it is so loud.
So much goes on around us that we hardly notice, the subtle shifts, the tiny drops, and when you tune in to the small things they become so grand.
While from a distance I didn’t understand this for myself, closer, the world is reduced to opposites and flatness that gains dimension as you approach.
Why Doug has always thrilled me- his use of very stark opposites in very pointed ways. The hot sun is red. The shimmering pool is ice blue. Together, there is a mix of heaven and hell right beside each other. It’s so good, so real, and actually the most primitive philosophy of feng shui that there is: we need both dark and light, hot and cold, happy and sad, every opposite bringing life to life!
And here, the surprise piece of the evening for me: END. It wasn’t the end. It was something people gravitated toward, trying to see themselves reflected in the golden mirrors. It was the start. Ends are new beginnings. That’s a hard concept to really embrace since the end is never what we expect it will be, but the luster of this END artwork said it without words other than a simple E.N.D.
Tune into the art that brings dimension to life and you will see things- everything- afterward with new eyes. After two hours in the wonderland of Doug Aitken at Regen Projects my seeming problems were re-imagined as possibilities. Something very deeply human turned on that was dormant- a universal way we respond to simple words. Now, Run, End. And in the somewhat apocalyptic vision of the works he presented, I feel lighter and more deeply inspired to dive into the dark as well as the light.
Live with more art. Let it shatter the ways you have held the world in a fixed view.