Doug Aitken - New Now New York Wednesday, February 27, 2019 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Regen Projects, Los Angeles
    Private Collection, Los Angeles
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Regen Projects, Doug Aitken, September 11 - October 16, 2009 (another example exhibited)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I have a restlessness with the way a photograph captures time. The static quality of the ‘frozen’ image or ‘decisive moment’ is not enough. I would like to smash a photograph, open it and see what’s inside.” – Doug Aitken

    Doug Aitken explores the complex themes of time and space in his work the handle comes up, the hammer comes down. Created in 2009, this work was included in the artist’s debut exhibition on the West Coast at Regen Projects, which showcased a body of work that contemplated the haunting truths of migration and industrialization. With a conceptual focus on the present, combined with a futuristic aesthetic, the exhibition consisted of imposing wall installations, such as the present lot, that create a narrative encouraging viewers to experience their own individual story. Initially, the LED-lit word “FATE” speaks loudly and directly to its viewers, drawing their attention. Once engaged with the work, one will focus more intimately on the displayed landscape of a sunset over a lifeless parking lot.

    In his work, Aitken utilizes fragments of information drawing from disparate experiences that he then pieces together to create a unique perspective. The present work allows the viewer to peer into the depicted landscape only through a narrow viewing space. Unable to see the landscape in totality, the viewer fills in the blanks according to their own life experiences and their interpretations of the present moment. In the handle comes up, the hammer comes down, Aitken comments on the endless opportunities and limitations of the cinematic gaze as the audience forms a relationship with his multi-dimensional content.


the handle comes up, the hammer comes down

LED lit lightbox
36 3/4 x 132 1/8 x 7 3/4 in. (93.3 x 335.6 x 19.7 cm.)
Executed in 2009, this work is from an edition of 4.

$75,000 - 100,000 

Sold for $87,500

Contact Specialist
Sam Mansour
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1219

New Now

New York Auction 27 February 2019