See this: the spectrum art of Olafur Eliasson

Light and colour can create incredible effects, within a space, on a person, within the world. The work of Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson revisits and recasts these effects again and again, in a variety of ways. Internationally he is known for a number of key projects, often involving interventions in the landscape – or occasionally having landscape intervene in a gallery.

Reality mosaic

Olafur Eliasson, Reality mosaic, 2018 Stainless steel, paint (black), coloured glass, light bulb202 x 190 x 190 cmPhotographer: Jens Ziehe, 2018© 2018 Olafur Eliasson

In 1998, he used uranin, a dye used in the detection of plumbing leaks, to colour a river in Berlin green. He created four man-made waterfalls in New York harbour some years later. But in the UK he is almost certainly best known for his installation in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall. The Weather Project was the first exhibit in this cavernous space to really capture the imagination of the public, with people flocking to lie on the floor and look up at the huge artificial sun he created.

Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson, Reality mosaic, 2018 Stainless steel, paint (black), coloured glass, light bulb 202 x 190 x 190 cm Photographer: Jens Ziehe, 2018© 2018 Olafur Eliasson

Throughout his diverse career, colour and the spectrum have recurred again and again in his work, most often presented in a context of interaction with the viewer. In his 1997 piece, Room for One Colour, visitors walked into a room filled with nothing but yellow light. Rainbow bridge (2017), a row of 12 apparently clear crystal balls, mounted at head height on a metal frame, turn to the colours of the spectrum as visitors walk past.

Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson Yellow atmosphere projector, 2018 Colour-effect filter glass (yellow), stainless steel, LED system ø 192 cm Photo: Jens Ziehe © 2018 Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson Yellow atmosphere projector

Olafur Eliasson Yellow atmosphere projector, 2018 Colour-effect filter glass (yellow), stainless steel, LED system ø 192 cm Photo: Jens Ziehe © 2018 Olafur Eliasson

Rainbow Panorama

Rainbow Panorama. Image by Alex Bandea [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

His latest exhibition opened on 1 March at the Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles  Reality projector (2018) is an installation using projected light and the architecture of the gallery space to create a dynamic three-dimensional environment of shapes and colour, referencing, among other elements, the area’s history as a movie town. The show promises to be an immersive treat for the colour-curious.

‘Reality projector’ is on show from 1 March until August 2018. For exhibition times see the Marciano Art Foundation website.

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Ros Anderson

About

Ros Anderson is an interiors journalist and blogger who has worked for The Guardian, Elle Decoration, Ideal Home and many more. In 2009 she co-founded cult interiors blog My Friend’s House with Jill Macnair, as a place to write about design in a more honest, spontaneous and humorous way.


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