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Doug Aitken at Regen Projects

On a recent trip, Doug Aitken had a vision. It was of his house, a bungalow in Venice Beach that he lived in for over ten years and is tearing down to make room for a new house for himself and his fiancée. In the vision, Aitken’s parents are seated across from each other at a table in the otherwise empty house while the roof caves in, the windows shatter and all the debris of the house rain down around them while they remain silent and unharmed in the middle of the chaos. And Aitken, being a skilled filmmaker, translated this vision in to his latest work, the aptly titled “House,” on view now at Regen Projects in Los Angeles. Viewers stand amongst the house’s rubble while watching it, adding a layer of connection to the piece and, perhaps, to try to clue the audience into Aitken’s experience of seeing the vision itself. Ultimately though, dreams belong the dreamer alone.

But there’s more. In addition to “House,” Aitken has also created a series of ‘living words,’ which include the oh so subtle “Sex” and “Art?” (That’s his question mark, not mine). Though the construction of “Sex” is actually quite beautiful, with the various plants and succulents dripping sumptuously off the letter forms, could he have possibly made two more obvious word choices? All we need to add above “Art?” is ‘what is’ and we’re right back in art school. Unfortunately, while the seemingly unrelated collection of pieces in the gallery may be visually striking, they lack conceptual depth and evaporate from your memory as soon as you leave it.