’100 Yrs’ by Doug Aitken at New York’s 303 Gallery

’100 Yrs’ by Doug Aitken at New York’s 303 Gallery

Few artists would get the green light to excavate a crater out of a gallery’s floor these days, but Doug Aitken is worth making an exception for. The showpiece of his latest exhibition ’100 Yrs’ at New York City’s 303 Gallery is just that - a gaping hole in the middle of its minimalist exhibition space.

Filled with milky water, the work - titled ’Sonic Fountain’ - is accompanied by an installation of sounds and water droplets from above. The controlled rhythm of the dripping water mimics the pattern of breathing to hypnotic effect.

Aitken has consistently kept the art world guessing with his simple, yet grandiose gestures. In this latest outing, the Los Angeles-based maverick proved that he doesn’t need a museum building or a big city block to pack a punch. ’100 Yrs’ is made up of eight provocative works that are each distillations of the multimedia artist’s arresting visual style.

These include a Plexiglas sculpture of the word ’Art’, which repeatedly overflows with bubbling liquid earth, simply called ’Fountain (Earth Fountain)’, and a ticking light box that highlights the blurred lines of its title ’Not Enough Time in the Day’ with each flash.

Aitken’s ability to delicately tread the line between moving and static works, as well as highbrow and popular culture, imbues each piece with an innate tension. Even in self-contained works like these, the effect is mesmerising.

2013 is shaping up to be the artist’s biggest year yet. A new commission, ’Mirror’ will soon be permanently installed on the façade of the Seattle Art Museum, while SFMOMA in San Francisco will stage a citywide installation of his Empire Trilogy in site-specific locations later this year.

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