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Doug Aitken: New Era

  • Art, Sculpture and installations
  1. Sonic Fountain II
    Photograph: Supplied/MCA
  2. Dough Aitken: New Era at MCA
    Photograph:MCA/Daniel Boud
  3. Dough Aitken: New Era at MCA
    Photograph:MCA/Daniel Boud
  4. Dough Aitken: New Era at MCA
    Photograph:MCA/Daniel Boud

Time Out says

Be immersed in this influential American artist’s first major show down under, exclusive to Sydney

American artist Doug Aitken’s first major solo exhibition in the southern hemisphere is now showing exclusively in Sydney at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) in Circular Quay. 

The influential Los Angeles-based artist is internationally recognised for his ambitious practice that encompasses installations, sculptures, photographs and vast, multi-screen environments that envelop viewers within a kaleidoscope of moving imagery and sound. Doug Aitken: New Era is a comprehensive survey exhibition that brings together key works from the late 1990s to recent multi-screen video installations.

On a visit to this exhibition, you’ll be immersed in worlds of new sights, textures, sounds and smell, and see things like your chopped-up reflection refracted back at you in splinters of mirrors, and footage of wild animals tearing up hotel rooms. 

Aitken spent three years designing this exhibition for the MCA for the Sydney International Art Series, and says “I wanted to activate the architecture in a different way, to turn the museum inside-out for the viewer.”

As you walk through the exhibition you’ll come across Sonic Fountain II (2013/2015), a large sound installation built into a rocky landscape with a cloudy white pool in the gallery. Drips and jets of water spill from a suspended ceiling grid onto a pool of water below, their sound amplified to create rhythmic drumming that swells and recedes according to computer algorithms.

Another highlight is NEW ERA (2018), an immersive hexagonal structure encompassing screens and mirrors that viewers enter into through a tunnel-like passageway. Inspired by the history of mobile phone technology and its pioneer, the American engineer Martin Cooper, the work considers the power of communications technology both to unite and dislocate us.

Doug Aitken: New Era is showing at the MCA until February 6. Tickets are $28 and can be purchased here. While you’re there, check out the gallery’s numerous free exhibitions. Don’t forget the MCA is also open late on Fridays for after-dark artistic rendezvous until 9pm.

Want more? Check out the best exhibitions in Sydney this month

Alannah Maher
Written by
Alannah Maher


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