International artists

Olafur Eliasson. A Renaissance spirit in the contemporary world

The Icelandic-Danish artist Ólafur Elíasson (1967) is multifaceted, almost Renaissance in essence. He enjoys and feeds on the amazement that the observation of nature and the environment that surrounds him gives him. His work is visible in Florence until 22 January 2023, at Palazzo Strozzi, where the artist worked on all his Renaissance environments, and at the Castello di Rivoli until 26 March 2023.
Olafur Eliasson, Firefly double-polyhedron sphere experiment, 2020. Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York. © 2020 Olafur Eliasson

Ólafur Elíasson is an artist, designer, philosopher, builder, technician, ecologist, teacher. A Renaissance man in the 21st century. Passionate about art, physics, technology and technique, with his hands and eyes fixed on the green and blue of the woods and the sky.
He is probably known to the general public for The weather project (2003), a site specific installation for the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern in London, visited by more than two million people, where he reconstructed a sun formed by 200 lamps behind a semicircular screen which was reflected in a system of mirrors.
He works with sculpture, painting, photography, video, installation and digital media. His art is guided by his interest in perception, movement, lived experience, his own feelings and those of the community. His art is not limited to the confines of museums and galleries, but involves the public through architectural projects, interventions in public spaces, actions of artistic, social and environmental education.
His studio is in Berlin and, not surprisingly, brings together a large group of craftsmen, architects, archivists, researchers, administrators, cooks, art historians and specialized technicians. He plays with natural elements (water and ice) in the idea of connection between man, nature and sustainability.

“I realized that we are fundamentally interconnected,” Elíasson told Studio Magazine. “We are united, through a multitude of relationships, with other beings, things, institutions, the ecosystem. By seeing our lives inextricably intertwined in a web that is our world, we are learning that we are also vulnerable and that we are not in complete control of everything. We act and interact in definite situations with uncertainty and undefined customs. By collectively exploring the world we can, I hope, make it livable for all species."

The search for him is slow, spread over several years, like the rhythms of nature.
Waterfall, for example, is a work inspired by the phenomenon in which the water of waterfalls, if pushed by a strong wind, flows from the bottom up. After photographing Icelandic waterfalls in 50 shots and translating them into the 1996 project The Waterfall series, two years later he presented Waterfall at the 11th Sydney Biennale: a six-metre-high fall of water from a closed circuit.
The same work ends, but perhaps will continue, in the end nature always finds a way, in 2016, when Waterfall is installed in the Grand Canal along the main visual axis of the Versailles Gardens.

In 1993's Beauty, a spotlight shines obliquely through a curtain of fine mist. As the experience of the visual effects generated by the interaction of water and light changes in response to the visitors' positions within the room, the artwork exists only in the meeting of the viewer's view and objects and is unique to each individual.


©photo Ela Bialkowska OKNO studio

The Glacier melt series also comes to life from 1999 to 2019; in 1999, Ólafur Elíasson photographed many glaciers in Iceland; this photographic series then translates into the work The glacier series. Twenty years later, the artist decides to return to Iceland to photograph the same glaciers again. A new work is born, the series The glacier melt 1999/2019, which combines thirty pairs of images from 1999 and 2019 to reveal the dramatic impact that global warming is having on our planet.

“I used natural phenomena taking them from nature as if this were a toolbox,” he said. “However, I don't think that nature can necessarily be interesting without the people who live in it. I'm not a radical ecologist, who thinks nature alone is important to itself, I think it's there for people. But we certainly have to teach ourselves and our children to protect it. In my work, I look for a balance. I do what I do for people, and I use nature as a medium, because it is able to speak to a very large number of individuals."

His works use lights, mirrors, water, stones, moss, ice, water, fog and often refer to the nature of his native Iceland. They undermine the visitor's spatial perception also through an altered perception of nature, culture and everyday life.
His installations, based on mechanisms of motion, projections, shadows and reflections, embody a proto-kinematic approach, a practice that explores the space between photography and film, creating complex optical phenomena through simple technical devices all designed by the artist and his collaborators.

Your rainbow panorama (2011) at the Aros Art Museum in Aarhus in Denmark, is an installation consisting of a circular corridor 150 meters long and 3 meters high, with a diameter of 52 meters, completely in glass, reflecting the colors of the light spectrum. Each visitor enjoyed his own personal rainbow and panorama of the city as the installation was placed on the roof of the museum.

In Italy, in this period it is possible to admire the works of Olafur Eliasson in two locations, in Florence and in Rivoli. Until 23 January 2023 at the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation you can visit a solo exhibition dedicated to him curated by Arturo Galansino. The exhibition is the largest ever held in Italy by the artist and welcomes a broad overview of his works, but also new works designed specifically for Palazzo Strozzi. At the Castle of Tivoli, until 26 March 2023, Olafur Eliasson intervened by transforming the Manica Lunga with a new series of six immersive works of art.

Some exhibits
Olafur Eliasson (1996), Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York City
Venice Biennale (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005)
Olafur Eliasson (2001), Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
Olafur Eliasson (2001), Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris
Olafur Eliasson (2006), Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson (2008), Moma, New York City
Olafur Eliasson (2009), The Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Ishikawa
Olafur Eliasson (2010) Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin
Contact (2014) Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris
Verklighetsmaskiner/Reality machines (2015), Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
Waterfall, (2016), Palace of Versailles
The Parliament of Possibilities (2016-2017), Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul
Reality projector (2018), site-specific installation for the Marciano Foundation, Los Angeles
The unspeakable openness of things (2018), Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing.
In Real Life (2019), Tate Modern, London
In Real Lufe (2020), Guggenheim, Bilbao
Olafur Eliasson: Symbiotic Seeing (2020), Kunsthaus Zürich
Sometimes the river is the bridge (2020), Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
Life (2021), Olafur Eliasson, Fondation Beyeler, Basel

Pubblicato il

La tua iscrizione non può essere convalidata.
La tua iscrizione è avvenuta correttamente.

Utilizziamo Sendinblue come nostra piattaforma di marketing. Cliccando qui sotto per inviare questo modulo, sei consapevole e accetti che le informazioni che hai fornito verranno trasferite a Sendinblue per il trattamento conformemente alle loro condizioni d'uso