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Doug Aitken: interiors at Henry Art Gallery
Doug Aitken, interiors (production still). 2002.3-channel video installation and environment. Image courtesy of the artist and 303 Gallery, New York.

SEATTLE, WA.- The Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, presents Doug Aitken: interiors from March 26 to July 10, 2005. Experiencing interiors, visitors enter a large room divided into a cross-shaped space by walls made of translucent scrims. A circular bench positioned in the middle suggests the best viewing space. The fabric allows the viewer to see the projections (and other viewers) from ‘outside’. The separate screens feature a rotating sequence of four character-focused scenarios of the same length and form, each with an individual soundtrack. The work cycles through numerous combinations as the scenarios are presented on their separate screens.

Individual actors wander through a range of stark landscapes and interiors—industrial lands, a helicopter factory, a locker room, an auction hall. Solitary for the most part, these figures prepare for various activities. A young woman prepares to play handball; a Japanese auctioneer warms up his voice. Suddenly, their unrelated activities intersect in a strange, intense piece of music composed for tap dancer, auctioneer, handball player, and rapper (Outkast’s Andre Benjamin). Just as the viewer is drawn into the song, it collapses, restarts, and dissolves.

Built of mysterious yet recognizable elements, Aitken’s installation achieves an unexpected, stunning synthesis. As a document, it captures a broad, inclusive picture of modern life through an accumulation of moments. Aitken has said of interiors: “it is about the idea of chaos and order, harmony and disharmony. It looks at how moments in time come together and then separate. It is a composition in the musical sense, like a piece of cacophonic music in which rare moments collide to create larger meanings. It is a piece about time.”

Doug Aitken was born in 1968 in Redondo Beach, California. He was awarded the International Prize at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999) and the Larry Aldrich Foundation Award in 2000. His work has been included in the 1997 and 2000 Whitney Biennials and the Biennale of Sydney in 2000.

Aitken’s photographs, single-channel, and installation pieces have been exhibited in solo exhibitions at Sala Rikalde, Bilbao, Spain (2004); Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland (2004); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo per l’Arte, Torino, Italy, (2003); Magasin, Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble, France (2002); the Serpentine Gallery, London (2001), and 303 Gallery, New York (2002, 1999, 1998, 1997 and 1994). Recent group exhibits include Hard Light, P.S. 1, New York (2004, which Aitken co-curated with Klaus Biesenbach); 3 minutes, Schirin Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany; dAPERTutto, Venice Biennale (1999, Harald Szeeman curator); and Unfinished History, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1998, Francesco Bonami curator).

This project was organized by the Fabric Workshop and supported by a grant from the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, a program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Major support was also provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The National Endowment for the Arts provided additional funding for Aitken’s residency at The Fabric Workshop and Museum.

Doug Aitken: interiors is organized for the Henry Art Gallery by Chief Curator Elizabeth Brown. Support for this exhibition has been provided by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, The Boeing Company, William and Ruth True, and donors to the Henry Art Gallery Contemporary Art Fund. In-kind support provided by the Grand Hyatt Seattle, The Stranger, and KEXP 90.3 FM.

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