The first major solo exhibition of the internationally acclaimed Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, located on the outskirts of Copenhagen will open on the 20 August.
Riverbed, which includes a monumental site-specific intervention, will mark a long-awaited collaboration between Louisiana Museum and the artist, who represented Denmark at the 50th Venice Biennale. Eliasson is regarded as one of the most influential and pioneering artists of his generation and is celebrated for works that enter into a profound engagement with the viewer, such as The weather project, 2003, which was the most visited installation in the Unilever Series at the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, and The New York City Water Falls, 2008.
With Riverbed, a landmark exhibition in Louisiana’s programme, Eliasson takes on the entirety of the gallery’s South Wing with a site-specific landscape installation that reimagines and recontextualises the museum as institution. The installation radically transforms the museum and the visitors’ journey through this reconstructed space. The exhibition comes to life through the encounter with the visitors and through the visitors’ encounters with one another, extending from inside the museum to the world outside.
Olafur Eliasson says: “What I’m interested in with my work at the Louisiana isn’t really that you experience an object or an artwork. I am interested in how you connect this landscape to the rest of the world and ultimately, how you experience yourself within it. When we’re in our familiar surroundings, in our circle of family and friends, our senses are very finely tuned, but the further away we get from the local context, the cruder the sensing becomes. I wonder if our focus on the atmospheric can give us a relationship with something that is very abstract and far away.”
Eliasson will also show a selection of three film works in the Hall Gallery of Louisiana: Your embodied garden, Movement microscope, and Innen Stadt Aussen. Each examines the spatial and temporal relations between people and their surrounding environment. Model room, a collection of geometric forms that address our understanding of structure and space, will occupy a gallery in the North Wing of the museum. The final work in the exhibition is the artist’s book Contact is content. Conceived by the artist as an artwork, the elegant volume of archive photographs that capture Iceland’s diverse landscape is an investigation into our relationship with nature and the physical space in which we exist.
Olafur Eliasson was born in 1967 (Denmark). Since 1997, he has exhibited internationally, in major solo shows such as The curious garden, at Kunsthalle Basel in 1997, The mediated motion, at Kunsthaus Bregenz in 2001, and Chaque matin je me sens différent – chaque soir je me sens le même, at the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris in 2002. He represented Denmark at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003 and later that year installed The weather project at Tate Modern, London. Take your time: Olafur Eliasson, a survey exhibition organised by SFMoMA in 2007, travelled until 2010 to various venues, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Your chance encounter at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, in 2009, included the outdoor work Colour activity house. Innen Stadt Aussen (Inner City Out), at Martin-Gropius-Bau in 2010, involved interventions across Berlin as well as in the museum. Similarly, in 2011, Seu corpo da obra (Your body of work) engaged with three institutions around São Paulo – SESC Pompeia, SESC Belenzinho, and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo – and featured ten site-specific installations. Eliasson’s projects in public space include Green river, carried out in various cities between 1998 and 2001, and the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007, designed together with Kjetil Thorsen and temporarily situated in Kensington Gardens, London. The New York City Waterfalls, commissioned by Public Art Fund, were installed on shorelines of Manhattan and Brooklyn during the summer of 2008. Your rainbow panorama, a 150-metre-long circular walkway with coloured glass panes situated on top of ARoS Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, opened in May 2011. Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre, for which Eliasson created the facade in collaboration with Henning Larsen Architects, was inaugurated in August 2011 and awarded the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award in 2013. Together with engineer Frederik Ottesen, Eliasson developed the Little Sun solar-powered light for use in areas of the world without access to electricity. Little Sun was launched at Tate Modern as part of the London 2012 Festival and has been presented at events around the world.
OLAFUR ELIASSON: RIVERBED 20 AUG 2014 – 4 JAN 2015 Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Denmark