Light and using it in the most varied way, including its perception and movement in relation to space, as well as natural elements and phenomena, are the fundamental elements of this artist’s works
Icelandic by origin, Danish by birth, German by job.
His name will be connected to “The weather Project“, when The Tate Modern in 2003, “The Sun”, Eliasson’s sun, comes to life and “appears” at the Turbine Hall. This was a large artificial sun destined to disrupt the world of art, or rather to create a new way of perceiving and making art.
Floor, ceiling and walls were specifically treated in order become reflective, a giant mirror doubles the volume of the room, an artificial fog creates the illusion of an indoor sunset in which to get lost, inside each of us can experience our own dreamlike dimension.
Overcoming an ideal boundary of the room you can discover the mechanisms and the constructions of the sun itself.
It is a work of art that lives and changes through the movements of visitors.
From now on “Your“ would be the word that precedes all his works
THis first works date back to the 1990s, when as a student of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts he won a scholarship and moved to New York for some time.
In 1995, he founded his studio, made up of about one hundred people, including operators, artisans, art historians, architects, programmers etc.
Here, natural phenomena would be at the centre of experimentation, large-scale projects and architectural installations.
The substance of his works will be light, and its use in the most diverse forms, its perception and movement in relation to space.
Regarding light, the expertise of William Turner would give shape and physicality to this element, with noteworthy influence on his work. Turner would be his first inspiration. Consequently, he would create a series of works and paintings called “Turner colour experiments”.
From natural phenomena and its elements, he learnt the meaning of space, and it will be his personal metaphor for involving people, as the artist says: “the natural phenomenon in its ephemeral and transitory being leads us to focus on experience rather than on the object.”
Making the laws of nature visible in order to understand our personal relationship/responsibility in and with the world becomes the substance of his artistic career and his social commitment.
In this regard, his name will still be linked to the realisation of a project of global resonance.
In 2012, “Little Sun” came to life. This portable solar-powered lamp was created to allow more than a billion people on the planet to take advantage of a clean light avoiding the use of lamps powered by toxic fuels. Here, he combines art and environmental sustainability.
“Art can change the world“, says Eliasson.
“Ice Watch” is from 2015.
One of his creations with this theme would be carried out during the COP21, the meeting of United Nations Conference on climate change held in Paris in December 2015.
The artist created a timed clock made up of 12 huge blocks of ice that were previously sailing in a fjord in the Greenland, and then carried in front of the Phanteon. Everyone could witness their melting in real time, creating awareness of climate change, of which he is a spokesman.
With this work, a 400-page scientific report becomes immediately visible and understandable to everyone.
Eliasson created a vast number of pieces, including “Real Life”, the anthology dedicated to the last 30 years of his career, from the 1990s to today. The Tate Gallery in London hosts this chance for us to cross his artistic work in a transversal way.
Among the works along this path, all of great importance, we should highlight “Windows Projection” from 1990, an intense white light projected on a wall, a fake window where the viewer projects him or herself in various ways, or “I Grew up in Solitude and a silence” from 1991, a single candle on the floor that burns out endlessly in front of the observer.
“A Waterfall” it is a cascade of water that returns and returns constantly, with its calming sound that contrasts with its strength and grandeur.
The work will be carried out over time, in different locations and with different make-ups.
“Your Spiral view“ is from 2002. This work is connected to his research on light, investigated through kaleidoscopes and translated through different geometries. The light that enters the object always creates new worlds and new images, perhaps a way of approaching the reality that surrounds us with new eyes.
“Your Uncertain Shadow” is from 2002. With this work, light again creates the story of our passage. The shadows are projected on a wall, changing and varying with movement. Light becomes a sort of newspaper, an important sign of our earthly passage.
“Your blind passenger” explores the theme of fog. It is a stimulus for those who venture and cross a corridor of about 40 meters, where you can only see a few steps in front of you. Curiosity and anxiety are mixed, also caused by breathing a sweet element used in the creation of the fog itself – a way to push us to explore the world, our home.
We end our journey with “Earth perspectives”.
Created for the “Back to Hearth” initiative at the Serpentine Galleries in London’s Kensington gardens, last April 22nd, during the celebration of “Earth Day”.
On the studio’s Instagram profile, nine videos are uploaded. The visitor is invited to become an artist. While keeping your gaze fixed on a background where the image of the Earth is projected, it will continue to disappear, thanks to an optical effect, then remaining imprinted in the retina. Each visitor will activate his own personal perception, contributing to the formation of a multiple vision of the world.
Art has recently become a rather difficult story, perhaps because it is excessively tied to the rapid changes and the consequent willingness to find a language sometimes at the limit of how a story can be told.
Perhaps because art is now ready to translate a thought that is sometimes radical, but still suitable to go beyond the ultimate boundary in order to bind itself to transcendence. Yet perhaps this also occurs too often in the current sense of what is art.
Within this artistic panorama, Eliasson and his personal story have led to a multisensory art, where we are all brought to the centre of the scene, together with nature, in the hope of becoming a biunivocal relationship, not a margin, but our own life.
“In order to change the world, it is necessary to change the way we perceive it, with the awareness that reality is relative” Olafur Eliasson