Doug Aitken’s Mirage in the California desert

Mirage, a brand new work by the artist Doug Aitken, has popped up within the California desert. The work, a facsimile of a suburban ranch-style home with mirrored surfaces, is a part of the exhibition of site-specific works, Desert X, placed on by the Palm Springs Artwork Museum, which opens to the general public this weekend (25 February-20 April).

“I needed to take the vernacular of a West Coast suburban residence… and cut back it of any human contact or belongings so it grew to become pure kind,” Aitken explains. “I needed the shape to have a dialogue with the encircling surroundings.” The artist has been engaged on the challenge for about two years, “looking for the proper location”. That turned out to be a perch on a rocky hillside above Palm Springs, a perspective that enables guests to view the suburban grid beneath them, however the place such man-made environs “disappear into the desert panorama”.

Mirage has no doorways or home windows the place you’d usually discover them, and there are open areas within the roof to let within the gentle and the weather. There may be “one thing very natural about [Mirage], as a result of you’ve got the immediacy of the earth… and there’s a wind that’s consistently blowing throughout it”, Aitken says. Guests can stroll across the mirrored inside of the home, which has roughly the scale and flooring plan of a typical California ranch-style residence, comparable to an area concerning the dimension of a bed room and an eight-foot hallway that’s “a kaleidoscope of mirrors”. (The work will stay up longer than the exhibition, till 31 October.)

“I’m very considering that rigidity of how we confront the panorama,” Aitken provides. “There’s this sense within the western a part of America that the panorama is one thing that’s there to be tamed and compelled right into a grid and cleaned up.” When requested if the violent historical past of Manifest Future, the early American rationalisation of westward growth, had any affect on the work, Aitken jokingly says: “You must write that.” However he declines to assign a specific which means to the piece, saying that every viewer can confront it in a different way.

“While you’re making a piece like Mirage, which is basically based mostly on an idea, you are taking the concept and also you develop it and refine it,” Aitken says, “however at a sure level, you let go and the work takes over… and in case you’re lucky, it surprises and shocks you in sure methods and at sure occasions.”