Olafur Eliasson March 4, 2020
Eliasson and Art Installations
Danish artist, Olafur Eliasson, is known for his ‘natural elements’ sculptures and art installations. Much of his work incorporates natural elements, such as light, air, and water, and explores the interaction between the artwork and the viewer. Often, the viewer discovers that the ordinary is not so ordinary after all.
This ‘interactive’ aspect is one of the essential characteristics of ‘installation art’. In this respect, it’s quite similar to artworks known as ‘public art‘. Installation art, however, generally refers to 3 dimensional artworks designed to alter the perception of an interior space. It is generally only temporary, and, like a stage setting, eventually disassembled. It might also be noted that both genres are often meant to be reactionary, if not political.
Eliasson began to receive international attention in the early 1990s. Much of his work is meant to challenge the senses, employing optical-illusion and intentionally simple mechanics. His 1996 installation, entitled ‘Strange Certainty Still Kept’, made use of a perforated hose and strobe lights to ‘freeze’ droplets of water in the air. In his ‘Room for One Colour‘ (1997), he flooded a room in yellow light, causing all other colours to be perceived as black.
Using nature in his exhibits
In particular, Eliasson’s ‘public art’ installations incorporate natural themes. In 2008, he created four man-made waterfalls on New York City’s waterfront. Up to 45 feet across and 120 feet high, New Yorkers were treated to this spectacle for three and a half months. In 2014, Eliasson collected huge chunks of ice from Greenland, and transported them to settings in Copenhagen. This installation was repeated in Paris in 2017, and in London in 2018. Entitled ‘Ice Watch’, these installations were meant to coincide with scheduled conferences on climate change.
Like Eliasson, my work, though not intended to be reactionary, is generally inspired by the amazing power of nature. Check it out.