Doug Aitken's Don’t Forget to Breath. Photo: www.david-owens.co.uk

Frieze Los Angeles

Doug Aitken's pop-up installation haunts LA's Santa Monica Boulevard

Don’t Forget to Breathe—three ghostly figures lit from within—are on show in an abandoned storefront

Doug Aitken's Don’t Forget to Breath. Photo: www.david-owens.co.uk
Doug Aitken's Don’t Forget to Breathe. Photo: www.david-owens.co.uk

“It's something you discover, you find it,” the Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken says of his pop-up installation Don’t Forget to Breathe, three ghostly figures lit from within that are installed in an abandoned storefront on Santa Monica Boulevard. “It’s something that someone that could be driving at 1:00am and pull up to a traffic intersection and see this very raw, 60s strip mall glowing and pulsating.”

First shown last June as part of his solo show at the Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich, the work has been brought to the West Coast by the media production studio Ryot, in collaboration with the artist’s galleries, Regen Projects and Galerie Eva Presenhuber. “I wanted to do something that was a bit more off the grid, that wasn't inside the gallery/museum system with this project,” Aitken says. “We're coming in to a new chapter of perception, we’re open to the possibility of seeking something out, or maybe even not knowing it's there but coming across it. And in that sense, everything around us, the entire landscape, becomes a possibility for art.”
Doug Aitken's Don’t Forget to Breathe. Photo: www.david-owens.co.uk

First shown last June as part of his solo show at the Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich, the work has been brought to the West Coast by the media production studio Ryot, in collaboration with the artist’s galleries, Regen Projects and Galerie Eva Presenhuber. “I wanted to do something that was a bit more off the grid, that wasn't inside the gallery/museum system with this project,” Aitken says. “We're coming in to a new chapter of perception, we’re open to the possibility of seeking something out, or maybe even not knowing it's there but coming across it. And in that sense, everything around us, the entire landscape, becomes a possibility for art.”

“It's simultaneously a disconnect and a complete connect,” Aitken says of the figures in the work, who peer at or listen to non-existent phones in their hands. “But also I think the work really explores the space of the individual, and where's the individual is positioned in this landscape of hyper-connectivity.”
Doug Aitken's Don’t Forget to Breathe. Photo: www.david-owens.co.uk

“It's simultaneously a disconnect and a complete connect,” Aitken says of the figures in the work, who peer at or listen to non-existent phones in their hands. “But also I think the work really explores the space of the individual, and where's the individual is positioned in this landscape of hyper-connectivity.”

“I think in a lot of ways we've all become so kind of desensitised to the white cube. It's all so interchangeable. Why is someone travelling across the world to see a show when the antiseptically clean space is exactly the same as your home?”
Doug Aitken's Don’t Forget to Breathe. Photo: www.david-owens.co.uk

“I think in a lot of ways we've all become so kind of desensitised to the white cube. It's all so interchangeable. Why is someone travelling across the world to see a show when the antiseptically clean space is exactly the same as your home?”

“People would just start to walk by and stop and congregate and look at or listen to the piece. And that's such an anomaly for a city like this which is all about the justification of the process. It's very much about where you're going next, a sequence of destinations throughout a day.”
Doug Aitken's Don’t Forget to Breathe. Photo: www.david-owens.co.uk

“People would just start to walk by and stop and congregate and look at or listen to the piece. And that's such an anomaly for a city like this which is all about the justification of the process. It's very much about where you're going next, a sequence of destinations throughout a day.”