Doug Aitken: Mirage Gstaad, 2019

Mirage Gstaad is an artwork in the Swiss Alps that was installed in 2019 as part of the exhibition Elevation 1049: Frequencies. Created by the Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken, Mirage Gstaad is a house that is covered entirely in mirrors, thus reflecting and interacting with the mountain landscape over the changing seasons. Mirage Gstaad is the third iteration of Doug Aitken’s Mirage, different versions have been installed in both the desert in Palm Springs and a former bank in Detroit. Mirage Gstaad is located between Gruben and Schönried. The sculpture is open until January 2021, admission is free.

“Mirage Gstaad by Doug Aitken uses the frequency of light to reflect the sublime Alpine landscape as part of a continually changing encounter in which land and sky, subject and object, inside and outside are in constant flux. Standing in contrast to the surrounding chalet’s the ranch-style structure suggests a latter-day architectural version of Manifest Destiny, the westward migration that began in Europe and finally settled in California. With every available surface clad in mirror it both absorbs and reflects the landscape around in such ways that the exterior will seemingly disappear just as the interior draws the viewer into a never-ending kaleidoscope of light and reflection.

Utilizing a wide array of artistic approaches, Doug Aitken’s immersive works lead us into a world where time, space, and memory are fluid concepts. His work has been featured in exhibitions around the world, in such institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Vienna Secession, the Serpentine Gallery in London, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Aitken earned the International Prize at the Venice Biennale for the installation Electric Earth, the 5765 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize, and the 576B Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award: Visual Arts.” (Excerpt from the press release)

Elevation 1049: Frequencies is curated by Neville Wakefield and Olympia Scarry, and produced by Luma Foundation in collaboration with The Store X Vinyl Factory.

Doug Aitken: Mirage Gstaad, 2019. Gstaad (Switzerland), July 30, 2020.

–– Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

PS: On the occasion of our visit to the house, one of its residents, Bernie the Wild Ermine, delighted us with a special performance, the “Mad Mirage” dance. WARNING: Stoats reputedly immobilize prey such as rabbits and art tourists, by mesmerizing them with a “dance”, though this has not been researched thoroughly.

0:00 the surroundings 0:34 the house outside 2:00 the house inside 3:53 the house outside 5:33 performance

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