The 100 #51 – Doug Aitken …

SEX by Doug Aitken. 2010. Clear PETG, white acrylic, moss, driftwood and various plants. 30 x 68 x 6 inches.

Doug Aitken (b. 1968) is an American multimedia artist. He moved to New York in 1994 where he had his first solo show at 303 Gallery. He currently lives and works in Venice, California and New York.

FATE by Doug Aitken. 2009. LED lit light box. 35 x 131 x 7 inches.



Aitken’s eclectic repertoire ranges from photography, sculpture, and architectural interventions, to narrative films, sound, single and multi-channel video works, and installations.  Aitken’s interest in mixed-media artwork, focusing heavily on illuminated typographical elements combined with light and photography.

OH NO by Doug Aitken. 2011. LED lit light box.

Although his vast body of work is well worth exploring I will focus only on his text sculptures in this post.

The following is an edited portion of Aitken’s interview with Dazed

NOW by Doug Aitken. 2011. Clear glass, mirror and wood. 24 x 52 x 8 inches.

Dazed Digital: What first inspired you to create artwork?
Doug Aitken:
 I have always just made things. I don’t see what I make as being defined by a medium or aesthetic. It probably comes more from a fundamental restlessness, an attempt to create tools for questioning, or understanding and I have always been interested in using a wide spectrum of mediums to do this. By my nature I love the non-linear aspect of art making, a dialogue that you have with someone in a taxi can suddenly become a film a week later.

UTOPIA (Altamont Motor Speedway) by Doug Aitken. 2011. LED lit light-box. 48 x 78 inches.
RIOT by Doug Aitken. 2011. LED lit light box. 24 x 89 x 5 inches.

DD: As an artist you are incredibly prolific. What is it that drives you to constantly keep making?
Doug Aitken:
 The easy answer would be mortality but ultimately, making art, is just what I do. It’s not really anything special; one thing leads to another and there is synchronicity. I like it when things move fast and intuitively. I find myself making works out of necessity to get closer to an understanding, or to use art making to dig into a question; into something that’s elusive and evasive to me.

ONE by Doug Aitken. 2011. LED lit light box. 39 x 84 x 7 inches.

We could be having this conversation now, and then, later, be driving through the desert together to make a film. I thrive off those experiences and I think the more open you are to exchange and flow, the more the creative electricity moves. I see life as a burning meteorite that you can climb all over, and feed off, as it is falling to earth.

START SWIMMING by Doug Aitken. 2008. Neon lit light box. 82 x 84 x 9 inches.

I do so like that final sentence and I also admire the concepts and craftsmanship of his text based sculptures.

FOUNTAIN by Doug Aitken. Acrylic glass, metal, pumping system, colored methyl cellulose, lava stones. 136 x 198.5 x 92 cm
image © designboom

END by Doug Aitken. 2012. LED lit light box. 141 x 153 cm.


















Credits: Wikipedia and Google Images.

The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu

12 thoughts on “The 100 #51 – Doug Aitken …

  1. Another cool addition. I do like that last sentence in the interview about the “burning meteorite” His work is fascinating.


  2. I feel like I should paying you for my education here!! 😉
    Amazing artist and it’s really cool to read the interview to learn about him as both an artist and a person. I will add him to the list of people I’d like to meet someday.


  3. I love the question: What is it that drives you to constantly keep making? and his response: Mortality. Such a simplistic response, but I felt a lightbulb going on in my head. Speed is so relative to an artist since most of the time we’re creating things in our head even if the work is not birthed in a tangible way. The clock really is the thing that drives me most days. If I don’t get it out now – I may never. Great post John.


    1. Kay – if you can feel this in the glow of your relative youth imagine how much more I feel it. “If I don’t get it out now – I may never” should hang on my wall in petit point! Your light bulb illuminates our existential predicament with blinding clarity. Time is The Joker extraordinaire and the clock is his Tar Baby…Thank you for your thoughts and comment…


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