I heard of Olafur Eliasson in the early 2000s, when his projects became quite famous (in particular, he created The Blind Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003). I have always been seduced by the way this artist cleverly questions nature and science as part of his process of creation. The Tate Modern is currently showcasing 40 works of art made between 1990 and today in the “In Real Life” exhibition. This is an amazing artistic event, which can’t be missed. Here is why …
Olafur Eliasson, a committed artist
Behind this (quite difficult to pronounce) name hides a prolific Danish-Icelandic artist born in 1967, whose work includes big installations, sculptures, photography and paintings.
The first room highlights Olafur Eliasson’s wide range of work achievements. He also participated in additional projects (not just artistic), like in architecture. He even founded an architectural practice, called Studio Other Spaces, where “he initiated projects directly addressing questions facing the world today”.
Olafur Eliasson is in particular very interested in projects to do with renewable energy (“Little Sun” is a social business spreading clean, affordable solar energy around the globe), climate change (“Ice Watch”, was a temporary installation set in 2018 in London meant “to serve as a visual reminder of the impact of climate change on the environment”) and migration (“Green light” workshop).
This exhibition is very exhaustive and inevitably very interesting, as all these topics are evoked (in the last rooms of the exhibition) and aimed at challenging us.
In Real Life: Tate Modern
Olafur Eliasson is coming to The Tate Modern for the third time, to present a retrospective of his artwork.
My purpose is not to disclose all the installations displayed there. I will just highlight some of them, for you to understand the philosophy of Olafur Eliasson’s work.
This one called “Beauty” is very poetic. The air, water, light and shade are all present to create a magical sensation. For me it gave the impression of a long floating hair … and I loved the amber, reddish-brown colours.
This one, “Your spiral view”, is not particularly original as I’ve seen things similar before (at the Saatchi Gallery for example, for the “Selfie” exhibition, or more recently at Pitshanger Manor with Anish Kapoor exhibition).
This has the merit to reveal the impact of geometric forms on the perception we have of the world. Nothing brand new but this is always fun to experience a walk inside a structure with irregular shapes, which look like numerous mirrors… and kids will love it.
In the “Tunnel of fog” you will experience a walk in a long corridor with heavy fog and lightning with changing colors. How would we react in hostile environments where we could not see at each other properly?
“The seeing space” is interesting, as two people look at each other from an opposite part of a sphere set in a wall, and surprisingly differences appear in the vision we have of each other. The fact that one room is in the light, the other in the darkness, creates an interesting opposition that influences our perception.
This will be the kids best part of the exhibition: all movements you will make in this room will create multiple and colored shadows of yourself on the wall. Five coloured spotlights are arranged in a line on the floor (with 2 different angles) and directed at a white wall. When visitors are moving in the front of these spotlights, it creates an array of five differently coloured silhouettes for each person. Quite an elaborate process for a fun result!
The perfect family outing
Let’s just say that “In Real Life” is the perfect family outing to introduce contemporary art to kids: it is interactive art, fun, surprising, questioning our perception of life… everything that makes Art attractive, actually.
The Tate Modern is also a great space for art lovers. This exhibition is not free (except for members), but you can always combine it with an exploration of the permanent collections, or a walk along the Thames, to make it worth the visit.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found inspiration here. If you are planning to visit “In Real Life”, please share your experience and opinion here!