Olafur Eliasson at the Tate Modern

From the 11 Jul 2019 - 5 Jan 2020


Olafur Eliasson (1967) is a Danish-Icelandic artist whose practice has expanded far beyond producing artworks for exhibitions.

Model Room, 2003. Pictured at the Tate Modern. An installation of a range of different sculptures, each reflecting and refracting light.
"I see the artist as a participant, a co-producer of reality. I do not see the artist as a person who sits at a distance and evaluates" - Olafur Eliasson.

Eliasson's intriguing installations in the exhibition at the Tate Modern, entitled IN REAL LIFE, encourage viewers to alter their perception of reality. This exhibition is an accumulation of over 40 works. The individual's personal experience is at the heart of Eliasson's art. Immersive installations such as Din blinde passager (Your blind passage), 2010, a 39 meter long tunnel of fog, enables the viewer to have a visibility of about 1.5 metres ahead as they endeavour to reach the end of the tunnel. Moss wall, 1994, is an entire, interior wall comprised of a light coloured moss, known as Reindeer lichen. The outdoor forest smell from the moss evokes awareness of one's sense of smell, just as the limited visibility in the tunnel of fog arouses one's sense of hearing and touch.

Moss wall, 1994. Pictured at the Tate Modern.

The meaning of Eliasson's work lies in the viewer's encounter with it. Regenfester (Rain window), 1999, enables the blue sky and white clouds to peer into the exhibition room from the outside world, yet, a continuous stream of water runs the length of the window. The juxtaposition of the water droplets against the blue sky evokes, for me, a feeling of nostalgia for a childhood tormented by the Irish weather!

Regenfenster (Rain window), 1999. Pictured at the Tate Modern.

Many of the artworks in this exhibition incorporate natural phenomena into the interior space of the gallery. The refraction of light, reflections and shadows play an important role in the individual's interaction with the exhibition.

The complex geometry, fascination with motion patterns, and colour are constant elements found throughout the exhibition.

Your uncertain shadow (colour), 2010, encompasses the interactive aspect of the exhibition. From selfies, to dance moves, to anxious walking, all is exposed as one cannot avoid participating in the performance.

There is a particular area within the exhibition space that explores Eliasson’s deep engagement with both society and the environment. Eliasson's perspective on the issues of climate change is represented in his works known as Glacial currents, 2018. Created using watercolours, ancient sections of glacial ice taken from the sea off the coast of Greenland, were placed over thin washes of colour on a thick sheet of paper. The gradually melting ice then created patterns in the pigment underneath - resulting in the finished piece.

Increasing the awareness of oneself and one's surroundings leads to a greater sense of responsibility. The impact of Eliasson's work leaves a long-lasting impression, even after leaving the gallery and entering back into the outside world.

IN REAL LIFE at the Tate Modern is running until the 5 January 2020. This enticing exhibition is well worth a visit!

For more about this outstanding artist and his studio see: https://olafureliasson.net.