Airport, please! A triumph of art and fashion: Doug Aitken’s experiential Green Lens in Venice, Italy
This summer of activity marks a significant return to the city of Venice for Doug Aitken, who was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion for his electric earth installation at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999.
GREEN LENS, a site-specific installation
‘Green Lens is a living artwork. It is simultaneously an artwork, installation and stage. It’s like a lighthouse that one can journey to and have a very personal experience, while it also transmits light, ideas and questions. A focal point that allows all of us to share our ideas and visions for the future post Covid… a celebration and inquiry into the future.’ – Doug Aitken
Located on the island of Isola della Certosa, Green Lens is a living experiential artwork and destination. From the exterior it creates a choreography of changing reflections of clouds, mist and wild green vegetation. As day turns to night Green Lens glows and becomes a kinetic light sculpture and sound composition.
Green Lens will be activated with a sequence of performances and conversations that are thought-provoking and provocative, focusing on the future as interpreted by musicians, speakers and dancers. These activations will be filmed by Aitken and released for the public to have access to this living artwork and stage for voices and culture.
Green Lens is an artwork by Doug Aitken, commissioned by Anthony Vaccarello in partnership with Saint Laurent.
Doug Aitken, Green Lens, Isola Dela Certosa, Venice, July 16 – 30, 2021
Born in 1968, Doug Aitken currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Major exhibitions for 2021 include a solo exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney. Previous major solo presentations of the artist’s work have been staged at institutional venues including Faurschou Foundation, Beijing (2019); Copenhagen Contemporary (2018); Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2017); The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles (2016); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2015); Nam June Paik Art Center, South Korea (2013); Seattle Art Museum (2013); Tate Liverpool (2012); LUMA Foundation, Arles, France (2012); Deste Foundation, Hydra, Greece (2011); Cincinnati Art Museum (2010); Museo d’Art Contemporanea Roma, Rome (2009); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007); Aspen Art Museum (2006); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2005); The Fabric Museum and Workshop, Philadelphia (2002) and Serpentine Gallery, London (2001).
The artist was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1999; he has been the recipient of the 2012 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize, the 2013 Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Award: Visual Arts, and the 2016 Americans for the Arts National Arts Award: Outstanding Contributions to the Arts. Aitken is the inaugural recipient of the Frontier Art Prize, a new contemporary art award that supports an artist of international stature pursuing bold projects that challenge the boundaries of knowledge and experience to reimagine the future of humanity.
Doug Aitken’s works, at their core, invite us to consider the nature of our present and signal possibilities for the future. His latest textiles are a continuation of a body of work generated over the past year and take as their starting point clothing and other everyday found materials that the artist was able to access within his home. Cutting fragments and reassembling them into abstract visual fields, Aitken has created elaborate wall hangings, patterns emerging and disappearing within their collaged layers.
Discussing the work the artist says, ‘For the last few months I’ve been working a new body of art, Microcosmos. Initially I was inspired by Béla Bartók’s 1926–36 stunning piano works, which are made as 153 progressively complex piano lessons from the very easy beginner études to very difficult technical displays. In total, according to Bartók, the piece “appears as a synthesis of all the musical and technical problems.”
However, as I listened I started to imagine the similarity between these piano works and their simple to complex structures and how we’re experiencing life in the information era. How we absorb images and information almost as “notes” and transform them into a larger and complex compositions. Creating these works allowed me to slow down and to reflect on the structure and complexity of how we move forward.
Foregrounded throughout these works are poetic tensions between the digital and the handmade, fast and slow media. Repeating elements within the works appear like handcrafted digital glitches, while the physical process of their creation suggests the slow-paced craft of quilting. Resembling flags and banners, mandalas and targets, they also bear connotations of protection, comfort or shelter – the very nature of cloth being at the same time intimate, personal and universal. These shifting symbolic qualities resonate with the dynamic abstractions of each composition: these are signs, devoid of text, that allow for open-ended investigations into our collective experience.
Victoria Miro Venice is housed in the former Galleria Il Capricorno in the San Marco district of the city at
San Marco 1994, Venice, Italy