Artist Doug Aitken reflects the beauty of the Swiss Alps in his latest installation called Mirage Gstaad. Consisting of a ranch-style home completely clad in mirrors, the structure now sits with the snow-covered peaks in Gstaad, Switzerland. The surface camouflages it amidst the mountains and evergreen trees, and from afar, Mirage Gstaad is completely in-sync with the landscape and seemingly disappears. But like a real home, you can enter the building—which also boasts mirrored walls and a ceiling. The angular interior has a kaleidoscopic effect that bends light and creates unexpected reflections.
This mirror house is modeled after the Californian ranch home design of the early 20th century. Inspired by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the architecture of the American West, Aitken’s intention with Mirage Gstaad is two-fold. It’s an “echo chamber” that is continually creating a feedback loop of uninhabited nature yet one that has been interrupted by a human-made object. Additionally, its presence recalls traditions of both the U.S. and Europe. “Situated against the backdrop of Videmanette in Gstaad,” Aitken says, “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.”
Aitken’s Mirage Gstadd is the third installment of this piece. Mirage was first placed in the desert outside of Palm Springs in 2017 and inside a former bank in Detroit in 2018. Its current setting is for ELEVATION 1049: Frequencies, which brought together international visual and performing artists from February 1 to 3, 2019. Aitken’s work will remain in the Alps for two years while “reflecting and interacting with the mountain landscape over the changing seasons.”