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Olafur Eliasson

Press release


Olafur Eliasson – Near future living light

neugerriemschneider is pleased to announce Olafur Eliasson’s eighth solo exhibition with the gallery. Entitled Near future living light, this show continues the artist’s decades-long investigation of perception, illusion and the range of optical phenomena through three new projected light installations, a composition crafted from colored hand-blown glass, a 36-part, largely black-and-white watercolor work, driftwood sculptures and a partially mirrored, wall-mounted crystal glass sphere.

In Interpretive flare display of unthought thoughts, Your sooner than later and New beginning (all 2020), light is projected onto an array of lenses, mirrors and filters attached to motors to create an ever-shifting collection of shapes, colors, lights and shadows that traverses the black box shaped by the gallery’s darkened space. These abstract choreographies build upon early twentieth-century experiments in abstract animation and visual music, creating an immersive environment. Each elliptical shape shifts, pulsates, grows, shrinks, appears and disappears, and Eliasson unsettles notions of two- and three-dimensional objects, lending the flattened compositions a sculptural quality.

Mirroring the coloration of the light works and their elliptical projections, Collective sea flares (2020) comprises ten layered panes of hand-blown glass positioned on a driftwood ledge. The glass pieces each vary in color, ranging from bright yellow to lush pink and deep blue, that overlap to create new tones. The effects produced by this layering create the impression of shifting colors, giving the simplified composition a sense of exceptional depth, movement and intricacy. Each of the delicate panes are punctuated by a circular or elliptical form on their surfaces, either as a cutout or a silvered adornment. The gaps created by the cutouts expose the true coloration of the glass that lies behind them, revealing the work’s illusory nature. The circular silvered coating acts as a mirror onto the work’s surroundings and the viewer, creating a space for reflection. Resting on a piece of driftwood sourced from the Icelandic shoreline, the composition’s base recalls Eliasson's homeland—the natural phenomena and landscape of which have long inspired his work.

The watercolors that make up the 36-part Unforgetting solar exposure (2020) expand upon the circular forms and studies of light, color and natural phenomena central to the exhibition. Executed in muted tones, the work explores stark juxtapositions between negative and positive space. The voids in each painted composition are achieved by diluting pigments with water, making the areas that contain the least amount of paint seem most luminous. Situated at the images’ centers, the bright, circular, nearly bare patches are surrounded by heavily pigmented layers of watercolor. The matrix of elements that comprise Unforgetting solar exposure allows the work to unfold in a manner akin to Harold Edgerton’s rapatronic photographs of atomic explosions, while the contrasting density and sparseness of pigment evokes the built spaces and atmospheric gaps that characterize cities.

Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967) is an artist driven by his interests in perception, movement and self-awareness and he seeks engagement with the viewer through participatory and sensory projects. Traversing sculpture, painting, photography, film, installation and architecture, his work has been presented by museums and institutions around the world. Not limited to the confines of the museum and gallery, his practice also engages the broader public sphere through architectural projects, interventions in civic space and social and political public projects.

Eliasson has been the subject of international institutional exhibitions, including recent shows at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (2020); Kunsthaus Zürich (2020); Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2020); Tate Modern, London (2019); Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art and Park, Porto (2019-20); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2018); Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing (2018); Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2016); Palace of Versailles, Paris (2016); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2015); Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2010); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008); and Tate Modern, London (2003). Olafur Eliasson was featured at the Gwangju Biennale in 2014 and the Danish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2003. His public projects and architectural collaborations include those for the Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre, Reykjavik (2011); The New York City Waterfalls, Public Art Fund, New York (2008); and Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London (2007).

In July 2020, Olafur Eliasson released his augmented reality app Earth Speakr on the occasion of the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2020. Available for download now, this app was created in collaboration with groups of creative partners, children, panels of researchers and his studio, and invites people of all ages to animate their environment using playful interactive technology, promoting unity and reflection on climate change and the future of the planet.

For further press information and imagery, please contact Alexia Timmermans at neugerriemschneider: +49 30 288 77277 or alexia@neugerriemschneider.com.