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The arts
Light fantastic: Olafur Eliasson

As Olafur Eliasson launches his latest travelling exhibition in Singapore, Magali Robathan takes a look at some of the Icelandic artist’s most celebrated works


My first introduction to the work of Olafur Eliasson was The weather project installation at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall in London in 2003. Like so many others who visited the exhibition, I was mesmerised by the illusion of a huge, misty indoor sunset. It was immersive, sensory, and thought-provoking, and as I lay on the floor surrounded by other people also staring dreamily up at the ‘sun’, I felt as though I was part of something.

Eliasson has a strong belief in the power of art, and in the idea that art should be accessible to everyone. As well as simulating the sunrise in London, he has built waterfalls in New York, transported icebergs from Greenland to Europe, recreated rainbows and built a huge riverbed in a Danish museum. His solo shows have appeared in major museums around the world, exploring themes including nature, sustainability, perception, architecture, climate change and more. His most recent solo show, A harmonious cycle of interconnected nows, was used to inaugurate the new Heatherwick-designed Azabudai Hills Gallery in central Tokyo. The exhibition showcased a selection of Eliasson’s artworks, all connected, according to the artist, by ideas of “deep time, slowness, motion and geometry”.

Eliasson’s public space projects include The New York City Waterfalls – a large scale public art exhibition consisting of four man-made waterfalls at four sites on New York’s waterfront – Your rainbow panorama, a circular brightly coloured walkway at the top of ARoS Museum in Denmark; and Ice Watch, which saw him team up with geologist Minik Rosing to bring free-floating icebergs from a fjord outside Nuuk, Greenland to public squares in European cities to raise awareness of the climate crisis.

Other projects include the development of the Little Sun solar LED lamp with engineer Frederik Ottesen, designed to get clean, affordable light to people living without electricity worldwide.

Here we celebrate Eliasson’s work.

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS

03 March 2024 - 08 September 2024
In Abwesenheit
Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf, Germany

19 February 2024 – 02 June 2024
Message from Our Planet: Digital Art From the Thoma Collection
Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, United States

10 May 2024 - 22 September 2024
Olafur Eliasson: Your curious journey Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

7 June 2024 - 9 February 2025
Senin beklenmedik karşılaşman (Your unexpected encounter)
Istanbul Modern, Turkey

Eliasson and Frederik Ottesen developed the Little Sun solar-powered products to bring reliable, affordable light to the 1.1bn people living without electricity Credit: The Davis Enterprise
Olafur Eliasson and his studio designed the facades of Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall in Iceland in collaboration with Henning Larsen Architects Credit: Photo: Nic Lehoux. Courtesy of Eignarhaldsfélagi∂ Portus Ltd., Reykjavik, Iceland © Olafur Eliasson
Your rainbow panorama is a permanent work of art created by Eliasson on top of the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum in Denmark. It opened in 2011 Credit: Photo: Thilo Frank / Studio Olafur Eliasson Courtesy of ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark
The Ice Watch installation was created to raise awareness of climate change. It was installed in three cities Credit: Photo: Martin Argyroglo. Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
Eliasson’s Double spiral artwork was created from high grade steel and features an electric motor Credit: Photo: Shimei Nakatogawa Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles © 2001 Olafur Eliasson
To create Life at Fondation Beyeler, Eliasson removed the facade separating the building from the garden and extended the pond into the galleries Credit: Photo: Mark Niedermann Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles © 2021 Olafur Eliasson
The Azabudai Hills Gallery in Tokyo, Japan celebrated its opening with an exhibiton by Eliasson called A harmonious cycle of interconnected nows Credit: Photo: Shimei Nakatogawa Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles © 2010 Olafur Eliasson
The weather project, 2003 at London’s Tate Modern used a semi-circular screen, a ceiling of mirrors, and artificial mist to create the illusion of a giant sun Credit: Photo: Olafur Eliasson Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles © 2003 Olafur Eliasson
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Attractions Management
2024 issue 2

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Leisure Management - Light fantastic: Olafur Eliasson

The arts

Light fantastic: Olafur Eliasson


As Olafur Eliasson launches his latest travelling exhibition in Singapore, Magali Robathan takes a look at some of the Icelandic artist’s most celebrated works

Studio Olafur Eliasson employs a team of craftspeople, architects, archivists, researchers, programmers, art historians, and specialised technicians Photo: Runa Maya Mørk Huber / Studio Olafur Eliasson © 2017 Olafur Eliasson
Eliasson and Frederik Ottesen developed the Little Sun solar-powered products to bring reliable, affordable light to the 1.1bn people living without electricity The Davis Enterprise
Olafur Eliasson and his studio designed the facades of Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall in Iceland in collaboration with Henning Larsen Architects Photo: Nic Lehoux. Courtesy of Eignarhaldsfélagi∂ Portus Ltd., Reykjavik, Iceland © Olafur Eliasson
Your rainbow panorama is a permanent work of art created by Eliasson on top of the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum in Denmark. It opened in 2011 Photo: Thilo Frank / Studio Olafur Eliasson Courtesy of ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark
The Ice Watch installation was created to raise awareness of climate change. It was installed in three cities Photo: Martin Argyroglo. Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
Eliasson’s Double spiral artwork was created from high grade steel and features an electric motor Photo: Shimei Nakatogawa Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles © 2001 Olafur Eliasson
To create Life at Fondation Beyeler, Eliasson removed the facade separating the building from the garden and extended the pond into the galleries Photo: Mark Niedermann Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles © 2021 Olafur Eliasson
The Azabudai Hills Gallery in Tokyo, Japan celebrated its opening with an exhibiton by Eliasson called A harmonious cycle of interconnected nows Photo: Shimei Nakatogawa Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles © 2010 Olafur Eliasson
The weather project, 2003 at London’s Tate Modern used a semi-circular screen, a ceiling of mirrors, and artificial mist to create the illusion of a giant sun Photo: Olafur Eliasson Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles © 2003 Olafur Eliasson

My first introduction to the work of Olafur Eliasson was The weather project installation at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall in London in 2003. Like so many others who visited the exhibition, I was mesmerised by the illusion of a huge, misty indoor sunset. It was immersive, sensory, and thought-provoking, and as I lay on the floor surrounded by other people also staring dreamily up at the ‘sun’, I felt as though I was part of something.

Eliasson has a strong belief in the power of art, and in the idea that art should be accessible to everyone. As well as simulating the sunrise in London, he has built waterfalls in New York, transported icebergs from Greenland to Europe, recreated rainbows and built a huge riverbed in a Danish museum. His solo shows have appeared in major museums around the world, exploring themes including nature, sustainability, perception, architecture, climate change and more. His most recent solo show, A harmonious cycle of interconnected nows, was used to inaugurate the new Heatherwick-designed Azabudai Hills Gallery in central Tokyo. The exhibition showcased a selection of Eliasson’s artworks, all connected, according to the artist, by ideas of “deep time, slowness, motion and geometry”.

Eliasson’s public space projects include The New York City Waterfalls – a large scale public art exhibition consisting of four man-made waterfalls at four sites on New York’s waterfront – Your rainbow panorama, a circular brightly coloured walkway at the top of ARoS Museum in Denmark; and Ice Watch, which saw him team up with geologist Minik Rosing to bring free-floating icebergs from a fjord outside Nuuk, Greenland to public squares in European cities to raise awareness of the climate crisis.

Other projects include the development of the Little Sun solar LED lamp with engineer Frederik Ottesen, designed to get clean, affordable light to people living without electricity worldwide.

Here we celebrate Eliasson’s work.

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS

03 March 2024 - 08 September 2024
In Abwesenheit
Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf, Germany

19 February 2024 – 02 June 2024
Message from Our Planet: Digital Art From the Thoma Collection
Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, United States

10 May 2024 - 22 September 2024
Olafur Eliasson: Your curious journey Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

7 June 2024 - 9 February 2025
Senin beklenmedik karşılaşman (Your unexpected encounter)
Istanbul Modern, Turkey


Originally published in Attractions Management 2024 issue 2

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