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Olafur Eliasson: Reality machines

Olafur Eliasson, Seu corpo da obra (Your body of work), 2011 © 2011 Olafur Eliasson. Photo: Anders Sune Berg. Installation view, Moderna Museet/ArkDes, Stockholm 2015.
Exhibitions
03.10.2015-17.01.2016
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Skeppsholmen, Stockholm

Olafur Eliasson: Reality machines

A fan circles in irregular patterns above our heads, water is pumped up frantically in cascades, and in another of the rooms we can walk through a labyrinthine architecture of coloured space.

All of these works are part of Olafur Eliasson: Reality Machines. The exhibition is a collaboration between Moderna Museet ↗ and ArkDes and is being shown in both venues.

Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967, Denmark/Iceland) is one of today’s most acclaimed artists. Since the early 1990s his work has been displayed in numerous exhibitions all over the world. Eliasson works with sculpture, painting, photography, film and installations, and also with architectural projects and site-specific works in public spaces. Light, wind and water in all their forms are recurring themes. Despite this, nature is present as the material used in works rather than as a motif.

When we encounter Eliasson’s installations, it is not always obvious where the work of art ends and the observer takes over. The focus shifts from the piece of art itself to the actual experience of seeing. At the same time Eliasson’s works create situations in which our perception of reality is challenged, renegotiated and reinterpreted.

Olafur Eliasson, Room for one colour, 1997 © 1997 Olafur Eliasson. Photo: Anders Sune Berg. Installation view, Moderna Museet/ArkDes, Stockholm 2015.

Constructed reality

Perception is central to Olafur Eliassons’s oeuvre. He has described his works as devices for experiencing reality, thus creating new perceptions of the world.  It is a matter of becoming aware of what we see, but also of being aware of ourselves in the act of seeing. Or, as the artist puts it, “seeing yourself seeing”, of acknowledging our presence and our participation.

In his early work Beauty (1993), a perforated hose is attached to the ceiling in a darkened room. A visible spotlight shines on the mist produced by thousands of droplets falling to the floor. But the work appears only when we find ourselves at a certain angle where we see the light refracted by the water.  The experience of the visual effects that arise depends on your position in the room. Although the work consists of actual physical components, Beauty is transient and immaterial – an optical phenomenon. Illusions are shattered. The work, like our notions of the reality it recreates, are revealed as constructs.

Olafur Eliasson, Seu corpo da obra (Your body of work), 2011 © 2011 Olafur Eliasson. Photo: Anders Sune Berg. Installation view, Moderna Museet/ArkDes, Stockholm 2015.

Studio Olafur Eliasson

Some 90 people are employed in the Berlin-based Studio Olafur Eliasson ↗, including architects, art historians, technicians, engineers, designers and cooks, who create projects together. The wide professional range reflects the Studio’s activities and Eliasson’s work method of realising ideas through experimental, dialogue-based exploration.

Olafur Eliasson, Beauty, 1993 © 1993 Olafur Eliasson. Photo: Anders Sune Berg. Installation view, Moderna Museet/Arkdes, Stockholm 2015.

Exhibition catalogue

A richly illustrated catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition. However, since the catalogue is planned to include photographs from the current exhibition, it will not be available until December. Read excerpts from the catalogue here:

Exhibitions

.pdf(42KB)

Introduction by Matilda Olof-Ors

Olafur Eliasson: Reality machines

Exhibitions

.pdf(37KB)

List of works

Olafur Eliasson: Reality machines

Exhibitions

.pdf(44KB)

We Have Never Been Displaced by Timothy Morton

Olafur Eliasson: Reality machines

Olafur Eliasson, Moss wall, 1994 © 1994 Olafur Eliasson. Photo: Anders Sune Berg. Installation view, Moderna Museet/ArkDes, Stockholm 2015.

Curator: Matilda Olof-Ors

Supported by: Bank of America and Clear Channel

The exhibition is a collaboration between Moderna Museet ↗ and ArkDes and is being shown in both venues.