Regen Projects is pleased to present “Flags and Debris,” an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken. The works form an ecosystem of interconnected mediums, mixing dance, performance, film, sculpture, and handmade objects. Each plays off the other, creating a choreography of images, language, and sound.
The exhibition comprises all new work conceived in the last 10 months, a time of profound change in the face of the pandemic. The body of work reflects the tension collectively felt between our isolation from the physical landscape of the exterior world and newly created spaces for turning inward to explore the subconscious landscape. At heart, the works are a portrait of a society moving toward the future.
“Flags and Debris” consists of a new series of handmade fabric wall hangings and a hallucinatory multi-screen installation. The fabric works were generated during lockdown when, searching for materials inside his home, Aitken began to cut clothes and fabrics. From these materials he created shapes to articulate words and phrases that spoke of a shifting world in continuous change. Conversely, the physical process of creating these works was a study of stillness. They resemble flags and banners while also suggesting protective coverings for warmth and security.
The collaged layers of fabric build into visual and written abstractions. These works provoke reflection on the nature of reality and visions of the future: Fragmented phrases like ‘Noise,’ ‘Digital Detox,’ ‘Data Mining,’ ‘Nowhere/Somewhere,’ and ‘Resist Algorithms’ appear like handcrafted digital glitches, while other works ruminate in full prose, including an excerpt from a text by Joan Didion, whose writing has served as an inspiration to Aitken.
Aitken also initiated a series of impromptu performances throughout Los Angeles using the new fabric works. He filmed these performances, translating them into the new multi-screen installation. The performances are based on choreographies Aitken developed working with LA Dance Project. Wrapped in the artworks, the dancers moved through desolate industrial locations and empty urban spaces. Their movements were unique to each setting, activating the spaces with kinetic energy.