Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson

Denmark 1967

Installation, Sculpture


Olafur Eliasson
Olafur Eliasson
June 23, 2017
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

There are a number of goals anyone’s art may be aimed to fulfill – from existing just for the sake of it to sharing one’s ideas and beliefs with the world. Some see the possibility of art to influence a wide audience, making artwork that is both alluring in its form as well as averting attention to an array of universal problems or thoughts. Working with a purpose of turning thinking into doing, the art of Olafur Eliasson is at the same time relevant to the individual and the public, as well as concerning the environment and its safety. Enhancing the experience of the viewers with natural elements like light, water, fog, and air temperature, Eliasson averts the attention to some of the environmental and spatial concerns.

Olafur Eliasson new york 2003
Left: Olafur Eliasson – No Nights in Summer, No Days in Winter, 1994 / Right: Olafur Eliasson – The Weather Project, 2003

Broad Practice

Having received his degree from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1995, Olafur Eliasson has been developing an artistic oeuvre highly broad in its form and field of work. The artist is known to work with experts in various fields in order to complete his projects, engaging architects, theorists, engineers, and craftsmen, among others. He had also started a studio following his college days, one that employs over 30 people working in various fields in order to assist constructing Eliasson’s sculptures, installations, and large-scale projects. His works are often intractable and the viewers get to experience natural elements in conjunction with the technical parts of the installations; Din blinde passager (Your blind passenger) (2010) is a 90 meter long tunnel in which the fog affects and limits the senses, whereas 360 degrees Room For All Colours (2002) uses light to alter the perception of the viewers.

Viewers get to experience natural elements in conjunction with the technical parts of Eliasson’s installations

Outside of the Museum

Many of Eliasson’s works can be found out in the open, outside of the confines of the gallery and museum walls. Averting the attention towards and invoking reflection on the surrounding environment, he has created some monumental artwork around the globe. One of his famous projects Green River included pouring a nontoxic powder into the rivers of Moss (Norway), Los Angeles, Bremen, Tokyo, and Stockholm, dyeing the waters in green which in turn drew the looks if the city’s inhabitants, reminding them of its fluidity. Another well known public project is The New York City Waterfalls that claimed the title of the most expensive public art project ever since The Gates installation in Central Park.

Olafur Eliasson has created some monumental artwork around the globe

Olafur Eliasson space view
Olafur Eliasson – The Open Pyramid, 2016

Great Many Achievements

For raising the attention towards the issues of the environment as well as having a significant impact on the viewers with his artwork, Olafur Eliasson has been greatly recognized and awarded for his work; The Spiral Pavilion had brought him the Benesse Prize by the Benesse Corporation; the Nykredit Architecture Prize and the Eckersberg Medal for painting as well as the Prince Eugen Medal for sculpture are just some of his many esteemed awards. In 2014, he became an artist in residence at MIT, given the privilege of studying and teaching in the institution for a period of time. Eliasson’s influence can be seen in the fact that the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, had visited his studio in Berlin during a state visit to Germany in 2013.

Olafur Eliasson has been greatly recognized and awarded for his work

Olafur Eliasson space
Olafur Eliasson – Bridge from the Future, 2014

Art for the World

With an artistic practice that spans over several different fields, Olafur Eliasson merges knowledge, awareness, and art. Immersing the viewers into a realm of natural elements, his interactive works reach out to your senses as an individual while raising your attention towards universal, public issues. More than simply decorating the world with his truly stunning pieces, Eliasson and his portfolio bear the weight of responsibility that is shared with all those able to witness his work – the ones inhabiting the environments that we should hope to preserve.

Olafur Eliasson lives between Copenhagen in Denmark and Berlin in Germany.

Featured image: Olafur Eliasson. Photo credits modernamuseet.se
All other photos credit the artist. All images used for illustrative purposes only.

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2017Multiple Shadow HouseMAC - Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal, CanadaSolo
2017The Colours of De StijlKunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, The Netherlands Group
2017Olafur Eliasson: Models of coexistencePKM Gallery, Seoul Solo
2017L'emozione dei ColoriCastello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Rivoli, Italy Group
2016 All Means are Sacred M Woods, BeijingGroup
2016 WE LAND Repetto Gallery, LondonGroup
2016 The Essential Bruce Springsteen Andersen's Contemporary, CopenhagenGroup
2016 ZsONA MACO 2016 i8 GalleryGroup
2016 Art Cologne 2016 Niels Borch Jensen Gallery and EditionsGroup
2016 Art Basel in Hong Kong 2016 PKM GalleryGroup
2016 The Armory Show 2016 i8 GalleryGroup
2015 Form, Colour, Plane Aros Aarhys Art Museum, AarhusGroup
2015 Frieze London 2015 Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, LondonGroup
2015 OLAFUR ELIASSON: BAROQUE BAROQUE Belvedere Museum, ViennaSolo
2015 OUT OF THE DARKNESS Aros Aarhys Art Museum, AarhusSolo
2015 Olafur Eliasson: Works from the Boros Collection 1994 - 2015 Langen Foundation, NeussSolo
2015 Olafur Eliasson: Contact Fondation Louis Vuitton, ParisSolo
2015 Olafur Eliasson Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, HumlebaekSolo
2014 Installment 1: Inaugural Exhibition Fondation Louis Vuitton, ParisGroup
2014 10th Gwangju Biennale: Burning Down the House Gwangju BiennaleGroup
2014 Collection Platform 4: Emotion and Technology Pinchukartcentre, KyivGroup
2014 THE GARDEN OF DIVERSION Sifang Art Museum, NanjingGroup
2014 Olafur Eliasson: Your successful uncertainty Galería Elvira González, MadridSolo
2013 Copenhagen 93 Galleri Nicolai Wallner, CopenhagenGroup
2013 Olafur Eliasson: Your orbit perspective Galeria Luisa Strina, São PauloSolo
2012 Neue Realitäten. FotoGrafik von Warhol bis Havekost Galerie Stihl, Waiblingen, GermanyGroup
2012 Olafur Eliasson: Your uncertain shadow PKM Trinity Gallery, SeoulSolo
2011 Without Destination Reykjavik Art Museum (Hafnarhús), IcelandGroup
2011 Olafur Eliasson: Your emotional future PinchukArtCentre, KievSolo
2010 The Rise of RAD: BODY-MOTION-SPACE-ARCHITECTURE TAM - The Torrance Art Museum, TorranceGroup
2010 Feeling things Gallery Koyanagi, TokyoSolo
2009 Rotating Views #1: Astrup Fearnley Collection Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, OsloGroup
2009 Your watercolour machine Andersens Contemporary, CopenhagenSolo
2008 True North Deutsche Guggenheim, BerlinGroup
2008 The New York City Waterfalls Public Art FundSolo
2007 Falling Water Reykjavik Art Museum–Kjarvalsstaðir, IcelandGroup
2007 Works on paper and other flat objects PKM Gallery, SeoulSolo
2006 Group Exhibition Galleri MGM, Oslo, NorwayGroup