Tag: Olafur Eliasson


Olafur Eliasson – Sometimes the river is the bridge

Originally scheduled to begin on March 20, Olafur Eliasson’s exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo opened on June 19. As neither the artist nor the staff of Studio Olafur Eliasson were able to come to Japan due to Covid-19, the exhibition, which involved the installation of 12 rooms of works including six rooms of new ones, was realized by communicating remotely.

The title of the exhibition, Sometimes the river is the bridge, suggests the possibility of bestowing form and function onto formless things—like invisible rivers that may appear to be bridges with a particular form and function, when viewed from a different, alternative perspective. Inspired by the theme of sustainability, this exhibition takes its point of departure from Eliasson’s interest in the environment, as reflected in how he has voiced his opinions at the United Nations as well as through projects like Little Sun (2012–) and Ice Watch (2014–). It is the result of a two-year dialogue with curator Yuko Hasegawa, partially in relation to the tsunami that occurred in the Tohoku region of Japan in 2011.

Eliasson, who is known for his work with water, fog, light, and other natural phenomena, deploys a unique artistic language that gives form to intangible and richly varied materials. In this exhibition, his specific intention was to shift the focus to the viewer’s ecological awareness: in other words, to imbue the perceptual experience with a different meaning or realization. What is unique here is not just the theme of the exhibition: the sustainability theme is also reflected in how it was produced. Consciousness of the carbon footprint associated with the act of staging the exhibition was manifested in how transportation was minimized by increasing the number of components that were locally produced, the choice of the means of transportation, and the use of renewable energy in the exhibition itself. Works were transported from Berlin to Tokyo not by air, but by train and boat via the Trans-Siberian Railway. 12 new drawings from a series called Memories from the critical zone (Germany–Poland–Russia–China–Japan, nos. 1–12) were automatically executed by a drawing machine as a result of the vibrations during the journey.

In addition, the light sculptures are powered by solar panels, while Sustainability Research Lab showcases the products of materials and designs that the studio has experimented with and developed, sometimes in collaboration with outside experts. The ecological and aesthetic ingenuity of the studio’s waste-based recycling processes are examined from multiple angles, becoming a statement about how the future should not just be waited for, but actively embraced and welcomed. As Eliasson himself says, “for me, all of these works articulate and express the future.”

The highlight of this exhibition is a new large-scale installation in the 20-meter long atrium space, called Sometimes the river is the bridge. A basin of water is placed in the center of the darkened space, while the reflections of twelve lights illuminating the surface of the water create various shadows on the circular screen wall above. The ripples caused by the gentle stirrings of the water surface take on a variety of forms, inviting the viewer to partake in a state of deep contemplation that resonates with these water ripples. This is not just an individual sensory experience, but also a medium for empathy with others who share the same space. Eliasson’s work takes into account the neo-materialist discursive nature of things: through the material structure of his work, he explores ways of creating a space of empathy that is accompanied by thought. In a certain sense, this particular work might be said to have achieved this goal.

In other works, such as photographs that capture the changes in Iceland’s glaciers over a period of 20 years, or documents of an intervention that causes a river to appear within a city, Eliasson deploys methods that promote awareness and knowledge production through form and space by understanding the structures external to our living spaces, such as architecture and landscapes, as elements of nature and climate. These methods are integrated into the theme of sustainability, welcoming many visitors as an exhibition that entails “feeling and thinking.”

Bilingual catalogue in Japanese and English, including photographs documenting new works, with a dialogue between Eliasson and Timothy Morton, a discussion by the Studio staff on sustainability, and an essay by Yuko Hasegawa on “Eliasson: The Artist who Listens to the Future.” (Film Art, Inc.)

Curator: Yuko Hasegawa

Organized by Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo operated by Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture / The Sankei Shimbun
Supported by Embassy of Iceland, Japan / Royal Danish Embassy
Sponsored by Kvadrat, Bloomberg L.P., JINS HOLDINGS Inc.
Grant from The Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation, Obayashi Foundation

Olafur Eliasson
Sometimes the river is the bridge
June 9–September 27, 2020

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT)
4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku
Tokyo 135-0022


Image: View of Olafur Eliasson, Sometimes the river is the bridge, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 2020. Photo: Kazuo Fukunaga. Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles. © 2020 Olafur Eliasson

source: e-flux


Olafur Eliasson: In real life

This summer, Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967) will return to Tate Modern following his world-renowned Turbine Hall installation The weather project in 2003, for an unmissable exhibition of his career to date. Marking the most comprehensive solo presentation of Eliasson’s work, and his first major survey in the UK, Olafur Eliasson: In real life will offer a timely opportunity to experience the immersive world of this endlessly inquisitive artist.

Olafur Eliasson consistently seeks to make his art relevant to society, engaging the public in memorable ways both inside and outside the gallery. Driven by his interests in perception, movement, and the interaction of people and their environments, he creates artworks which offer experiences that can be shared by visitors of all ages. Tate Modern will bring together over 30 works spanning the last three decades – from celebrated early installations like Beauty 1993, to new paintings and sculptures. For the first time, the exhibition will also examine Eliasson’s wider collaborations in fields as diverse as sustainability, migration, education and architecture, allowing viewers to explore how these projects extend his artistic practice. Each installation, or group of works, will encompass a key theme explored within Eliasson’s career. This will include his early investigations into space, motion and natural phenomena – as explored in Moss wall 1994, featuring lichen native to Eliasson’s homeland Iceland – to extensive experiments with light, colour, geometry, perception and participation that characterise his work today – such as Stardust particle 2016. Other installations like Your spiral view 2002 and Your uncertain shadow (black and white) 2010 incorporate reflections and shadows to play with the way we navigate or perceive the world. Together they reflect the artist’s core principle of ‘seeing yourself sensing’. As the works reveal the mechanisms behind their own making, we are invited to consider the physical and psychological processes that contribute to how we experience them. The exhibition will culminate with a space exploring Eliasson’s deep engagement with social and environmental issues. This includes projects such as Little Sun, first launched at Tate Modern in 2012, which provides solar-powered lamps and chargers to communities without access to electricity; Green Light – An Artistic Workshop, hosted by various institutions around the world, in which asylum seekers and refugees, together with members of the public, construct Green light lamps and take part in an accompanying educational programme; and Ice Watch, an installation, recently experienced by visitors to Tate Modern and passers-by, featuring glacial ice from Greenland which aims to inspire public action against climate change. Eliasson’s wide-ranging architectural projects will be explored here, including the recently completed Fjordenhus in Denmark. Viewers will also get behind-the-scenes insight into how Studio Olafur Eliasson works day to day and will be able to engage in collaborative making activities. Not confined to the gallery walls, Eliasson’s work will extend onto the terrace outside Tate Modern, while further installations such as Room for one colour 1997 will animate the concourse outside the galleries. For the duration of the exhibition Studio Olafur Eliasson will also collaborate with Tate Eats on a special menu for Tate Modern’s Terrace Bar. This will be based on organic, vegetarian and ethically sourced produce that is central to the Studio’s own kitchen in Berlin, where studio members eat family-style meals together every day.Continue Reading..


Olafur Eliasson. Reality machines

His works are in dialogue with ecology, architecture and urban spaces, but also with philosophy and science. The show present Eliasson’s unusually expansive artistic output, letting his installations fill both museum buildings.
Curator: Matilda Olof-Ors

On 3 October, 2015, Moderna Museet and ArkDes, the Center of Architecture and Design open their extensive exhibition on Olafur Eliasson, one of the most influential contemporary artists today. Although Eliasson’s work has been exhibited all over the world, this is the first time his oeuvre has been featured in a major museum presentation in Stockholm. Eliasson explores the spaces in which we dwell, with works ranging from unassuming sculptures to larger architectonic structures. Olafur Eliasson’s works are in dialogue with ecology, architecture and urban spaces, but also with philosophy and science. Thus, it is only natural for the neighbouring institutions Moderna Museet and ArkDes to present Eliasson’s unusually expansive artistic output, letting his installations fill both museum buildings.

“I strongly believe that it isn’t necessary to polarise the fields of art and architecture. Rather, it’s about trying to transgress the traditional boundaries to create a space of inclusion and hospitality, where differences of opinion are not only tolerated but encouraged. When you enter my exhibition, you do not step out of the city of Stockholm and into the protected world of art, but continue the processes of negotiation and co-production that characterise our shared reality.”
Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson (born 1967, Iceland/Denmark) is based in Copenhagen and Berlin, where Studio Olafur Eliasson employs some 90 staff members. Eliasson’s practice encompasses sculpture, painting, photography, film, installations, architectural projects and site-specific works in public spaces.
The exhibition Olafur Eliasson: Verklighetsmaskiner/Reality machines spans his entire career so far, from the early 1990s to today. Perception is central to the art of Olafur Eliasson. The works draw our attention not only to what we see, but to how we see, or, in the artist’s own words: “seeing yourself seeing”.

“Olafur Eliasson shifts our focus from the art object itself to the actual experience of seeing. His installations are optical instruments that make us see the world around us in different ways. The works become machines that produce new realities,” says Matilda Olof-Ors, exhibition curator.Continue Reading..