Mirrored inside and out, a new installation set in a snowy valley in Switzerland will never look exactly the same twice. Created as part of this year’s alpine arts festival Elevation 1049 by Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken, “Mirage Gstaad” almost disappears into the stark landscape when gazing at it from a distance, while inside its prismatic reflective planes produce somewhat of a disorienting effect.
Bent, folded and multiplied, the scenery around the cabin is the star of the show, constantly evolving depending on the time of day, the weather and the quality of the light. On a sunny day, the mirrored ranch-style cabin can be intensely dazzling, and its facades are equally striking at sunrise and sunset. Aitken describes it as “chameleon-like.”
“In the tradition of land-art as a reflection of the dreams and aspirations projected onto the American West, Mirage Gstaad presents a continually changing encounter in which subject and object, inside and outside are in constant flux. With every available surface clad in mirror, it both absorbs and reflects the landscape around in such ways that the exterior will seemingly disappear just as the interior draws the viewer into a never-ending kaleidoscope of light and reflection.”
“As Mirage Gstaad pulls the landscape in and reflects it back out, this classic one-story suburban house becomes a framing device, a perceptual echo-chamber endlessly bouncing between the dream of nature as pure uninhabited state and the pursuit of its conquest. Situated against the backdrop of Videmanette in Gstaad, Mirage Gstaad will bring the idea of the Manifest Destiny and the American West into contact with the European landscape and the tradition of the sublime.”
Mirage Gstaad is on view until January 2021, and is accessed on foot from the Gruben of Shönreid strain stations via hiking trails.