Olafur Eliasson



Your Body of Work (2011-2012)

Olafur Eliasson was born in Denmark 1967. He studied, from 1989 to 1995, at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. He has had many highly successful exhibitions that are some of the most visited in the world. In 1995, he moved to Berlin and founded Studio Olafur Eliasson, he had by then aspired to become a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, Eliasson directed the Institute for Spatial Experiments for a five-year term as an experimental programme in art education in his studio. With architect Sebastian Behmann they created ‘Other Spaces’ (this looks at interdisciplinary and experimental building projects within a public space), an international office for art and architecture.

This core idea of art not being a picture Eliasson said, “The idea that art can actually evaluate the relationship between, what it means to be in a picture, and what it means to be in a space.

What is the difference? The difference between thinking and doing. I think it makes a difference whether you have a body that feels a part of a space, rather than having a body which is just in front of a picture.”

In 2011 he installed, ‘Your body of work’ engaged with three institutions. This one is an experimental installation for the viewer’s experiences revolving around colour perception and spatial orientation. He looks at temporality and he feels that most of today’s exhibitions do not facilitate temporality and become momentarily timeless. He feels it should be relevant that the process is part of the experience through all of your senses. “Experience is about responsibility. Having an experience is taking part in the world. Taking part in the world is really about sharing responsibility.” This work is a labyrinth engulfing you and inspiring you to use all of your senses to feel the experience. It should make you question your body to the very core of existence, how you are entrenched in the notion but never questioning why. It should make you appreciate the physics of doing. He cited “to sort of find itself and to navigate and to get lost and found” this should make you question that you haven’t lost your natural senses, just you need to refine your method of getting lost and if we lose our sense we get new ones to solve the problem. If you become stuck in your way of feeling lost, you often will not want to find the solution and therefore you are stuck in the space. The audience drawn into a situation whereby they have to modify and reorganise their skills thus questioning the reality. To reproduce ourselves, much like the colour scheme is the support mechanism he has used to become lost as colour is confusing but the colour responds to movement and changes colour in order to guide you to focus on the singular thing in front of you.

Eliasson’s art is determined through his interests in perception, movement, embodied experience, and feelings of self. Eliasson likes to highlight concerns of art and make them relevant to society using: sculpture, painting, photography, film, and installations.

Eliasson’s work inspires you to think you are an assembly of parts, one who questions the reality and provokes a determined question of what reality is. Eliasson puts the viewer into a tangible space (sense of dimension) with objects with certain connotations (enabling you to judge the time and therefore the distance between) which becomes part of the process of art and with art does it become a kind of responsibility? Eliasson likes to configure the relationship between space and body. How do we configure them to make a difference? If so what consequences does it have? “If I have a sense of the space, if I feel that the space is tangible, if I feel there is time, if there is a dimension I could call time, I also feel that I can change the space and suddenly it makes a difference in terms of making space accessible. One could say this is about community, collectivity. It’s about being together.”

He questions how do we create an idea, which is tolerant to individuality, and responsive to the collective, without separating the two into two opposites? He finds art and culture, incredibly interesting in contemporary times, his work has successfully proven that one can create a kind of a space which is both sensitive to individuality and to the collective,

Eliasson looks at the space as a part of the photographic production, devoting the viewer completely into an experiment though all their senses. This supports the idea of making a story with intense depth. This concept is something I feel my work would benefit from; inevitably, it could be the sufferers, who truly understand the reasoning behind the chosen placement. Much like Eliasson where the viewer is taking part in the responsibility, I would like to force the viewer into a whirlwind of emotions but mainly awareness it is the viewer’s responsibility to address the issues. Like Eliasson it will make you question the whole existence and why things happen, how we can prevent atrocities. Like for instance the intense feeling of loss you feel when viewing Eliasson’s work, I would like to channel a lost feeling within my work but using a slightly different method. The idea of a reality machine to reprogram and organise. It will allow you to modify your whole being, which is how I would like to represent the positives in my story as you quickly modify your whole self into personal understanding and ultimately helping yourself evolve into a better person. The artist exhibits work about his own experiences and feelings of self, which, make them relevant to society. This is something I want to place huge emphasis on within my work ‘Uncertainty’ but also like Eliasson I’m happy to use any medium to achieve the results. Eliasson displays you with objects with associated connotations in a tangible space, thus enabling you to truly “live and feel” the story. Eliasson looks at the togetherness of a community and this is something I feel is very important, in my story as it should be understood the story it is trying to convey gaining support from each response. Eliasson looks at something, either collectively or individually. I want a direct link to this concept, I wish to deploy this idea in my own work either to the sufferers of the disease or if the viewer has experienced similar ill health.


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