Look closely or you may miss the incredible Mirage Gstaad, a stunning installation by Doug Aitken. With every surface covered entirely in mirrors, the centrepiece of Switzerland’s annual Elevation 1049 arts festival stands out, or more accurately, blends in. Drawing off the festival’s 2019 theme of Frequencies, Doug Aitken’s installation uses light to absorb and reflect the snowy, mountainous landscape of the Swiss Alps.
Viewing the simple, A-frame structure upends all traditional understanding of architecture. Seeing one’s surroundings reflected in solidity is dizzying to say the least, and can lead to a very surrealist interpretation of the landscape. The interior continues the reflective effect as the angled, mirrored walls give way to a kaleidoscope of light and colours.
Aitken describes Mirage as a chameleon-like form, a juxtaposition to the solidity of art as we typically know it. The installation, as alluring as it undoubtably is, is not a device for one-sided viewing. By reflecting the surroundings, Mirage frames the landscape and the viewer within, reflecting both the beauty of nature and mankind’s pursuit of it.