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Moderna Museet presents Reality Machines, by Olafur Eliasson
3 October, 2015
Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967, Denmark/Iceland) is one of the most acclaimed international artists today. Since the early 1990s, his works have been presented in countless exhibitions all over the world. Eliasson uses a variety of media, including sculpture, photography, film and installation, but he also creates architectural projects and site-specific pieces for public spaces. Light, wind and water in every conceivable form feature prominently. And yet, nature is present in the works as material rather than as subject matter.
In the encounter with Eliasson’s installation, it is not always obvious where the art object ends and the viewer begins. The focus shifts from the art object itself to the actual experience of seeing. Eliasson’s works also give rise to situations that challenge, renegotiate and reinterpret our perception of reality.
Perception is central to Olafur Eliassons’s oeuvre. He has described his works as devices for experiencing reality, thus creating new perceptions of the world. It is a matter of becoming aware of what we see, but also of being aware of ourselves in the act of seeing. Or, as the artist puts it, “seeing yourself seeing”, of acknowledging our presence and our participation.
In his early work Beauty (1993), a perforated hose is attached to the ceiling in a darkened room. A visible spotlight shines on the mist produced by thousands of droplets falling to the floor. But the work appears only when we find ourselves at a certain angle where we see the light refracted by the water. The experience of the visual effects that arise depends on your position in the room. Although the work consists of actual physical components, Beauty is transient and immaterial – an optical phenomenon. Illusions are shattered. The work, like our notions of the reality it recreates, are revealed as constructs.
This is the first time his oeuvre is presented in a major solo exhibition by a museum in Stockholm. The exhibition will be open until January 17, 2016.