3 October 2015 - 17 January 2016
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.
Welcome to this autumn’s major art experience at Moderna Museet and ArkDes!
Studio Olafur Eliasson
There are around 90 people working at Berlin-based Studio Olafur Eliasson, including architects, art historians, technicians, engineers, designers and chefs, realising projects together. This tremendous breadth reflects the activities at the studio as well as Eliasson’s working method to realise ideas in an experimental, exploratory way, often in dialogue.
Perception is a central feature of Olafur Eliasson’s artistic work. He has described his works as tools to be used for a critical exploration of the world at large, for the creation of new experiences of reality. It is all about being aware of what we see, but just as much about becoming aware of ourselves when we see. To experience both presence and participation in a situation, “seeing yourself seeing”, in the artist’s own words. In a previous work entitled Beauty (1993), a perforated hose is suspended up on the ceiling in a darkened room.
A visible spotlight illuminates the curtain of mist produced by the thousands of droplets as they fall towards the floor. But we only discover the work when we find ourselves at a certain angle in relation to the light as it hits the water droplets. The experience created by the visual effects varies, depending on your position in the room. Although the work of art is made up of physically solid components, Beauty is fluid and intangible – an optical phenomenon. Illusions are broken. The work, like our view of reality that it recreates, proves to be a construct.
Accompanying the exhibition is a richly illustrated catalogue featuring photos of the exhibition. The catalogue has been designed by one of the world’s leading graphic designers, Irma Boom from the Netherlands. You can read some text extracts from the catalogue here:
Curator: Matilda Olof-Ors