Doug Aitken

Vision (2016)

High-density foam, resin, mirror
58 x 87 x 14 inches

The Star in Frisco

In the tiny fraction of time it takes to glance at Doug Aitken’s sculpture, your attention is instantly splintered. Sent in many directions simultaneously, your eyes seem to be playing tricks on you. It is as if you have entered a house of mirrors or fallen through a wormhole and emerged in a world made of fragments.

Almost as quickly, it becomes clear that “Vision” (2016) has not been made by a prankster but by an artist dedicated to getting viewers to see our surroundings from as many different perspectives as possible. That is something that art has always done: Expand our understanding of the world around us by getting people to see it from different points of view. Aitken’s sculpture does that in a split-second—and with lasting consequences.

Made of mirrors angled every which way, his arrangement of faceted planes makes the ceiling overhead, the floor underfoot, the wall in front of you, and the wall behind you all appear to occupy the same space.

That’s disorienting. But it’s also exhilarating. And it gets even better when you move side-to-side, up and back, sometimes catching your reflection in one of Aitken’s letters and at other times seeing other viewers reflected there. “Vision” makes it clear that seeing things and understanding them are two sides of the same coin: an ongoing process that requires active participation.

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