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Olafur Eliasson - Humans and their Environment as Art

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

No one else raises awareness for climate change as beautifully as Olafur Eliasson and his Studio. He lets his visitors become one with their surroundings and shows with his art, how beautiful the symbiosis of different elements can be.

"Escaped light landscape" at Kunsthaus Zurich

Olafur Eliassons' works covers a variety of disciplines: from contemporary art, to social commitment and architecture. All of them unite the correlation of human beings and their environment. Changing ones viewpoint or changing elements such as light and water result in constantly new constellations to observe.

"Din blinde passager" at Tate Modern

One cannot leave Olafur Eliassons pieces untouched. It is rewarding to linger around for a while, take new perspectives and let the magic do its work. One fascinating example is "Din blinde passager" / your blind passenger, last exhibited at the Tate modern. As a visitor, one has to pass a room filled with fog, colored by lights. One can hardly see one's feet, looses orientation and can let oneself go in the experience.

"Symbiotic Seeing" at Kunsthaus Zurich

A similarly fascinating fog installation opened at Kunsthaus Zurich at the beginning of 2020. The piece called «Symbiotic Seeing» was specifically created for the Kunsthaus. This time, only a thin layer of the fog was lit. As a result, one had the feeling of standing under a ceiling of merging liquids, as shown in the video above.

"Stardust Particle" at Tate Modern

Lights, colors, physics and other natural phenomenas are essential elements of Eliasson's work. At the Tate modern, one could also gaze in amazement at a rainbow waterfall. It may sound too artificial to be beautiful but it was just enchanting and calming to watch the colorful water drizzle down. Similarly, mirrors, glass sculptures and kaleidoscopes play with the viewer and project colors and patterns to the surrounding walls.

Light is also important in Olafur Eliassons social contribution. His Solar Lamps, called "Little Sun", provide sustainable light all over the planet.

Basalt rocks in Vik and the Harpa in Reykjavik

In terms of architecture, the concert hall Harpa in Reykjavik is noteworthy. Its facade is designed inspired by the basalt rocks. The lights provide a different experience when watching the building by day, compared to its colors by night.

Light installation at the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Furthermore, Olafur Eliasson added a light installation to the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, a building by Frank Gehry. On its terrace, yellow columns engulf the surroundings in a warm glow under the name «Inside the Horizon».

Some of the works, such as «Big Bang Fountain», can hardly be put in words and should be experienced live.

For those who are feeling like staying at home, one can get to know the artist in the second «Abstract» series on Netflix.


Olafur Eliasson

Born 1967 in Copenhagen

Spent a lot of time in Island, as this was where his parents came from

Studied art in Denmark

Studio has been located in Berlin for the last 20 years

He is the UN ambassador for the environment and the Sustainable Development Goals

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