Olafur Eliasson: Light Lab, 2006-2008

Olafur Eliasson: Light Lab, 2006-2008


Olafur Eliasson, Light Lab, 2006/2007, photographs: Wolfgang Günzel

February 25, 2007

Olafur Eliasson:
Light Lab, 2006-2008

Portikus Frankfurt am Main
Strobo Night, Blue Moon, Deep Purple Laguna, Movementmeter for the Main, Daylight, The Heiliotropic Month, The Giant Sky Mirror Light, Green River Light, The Ultraviolet City, Water Reflection Wall, Solar Flames, Nebular Orion, Sunrise Pink, Vertical White and Blue, Reversed Full White Sun… These are some of the working titles for Olafur Eliassons solar experiments in the large glass roof of the Portikus in Frankfurt am Main. The project, which started in April of 2006, has become recognized far beyond the art world and has turned the Portikus into one of the most discussed architectural sites in Germany.

The glass roof is a light laboratory. Eliasson sees each chapter of the project (planned to continue until 2008) as a new test. ‘Whats getting increasingly clear,’ writes Daniel Birnbaum, ‘is the solar fascination that recurs in his work, from the artificial rainbow Beauty (1993) to Your Sun Machine (1996) and his succession of synthetic suns the most massive of which formed the centre of Eliassons Weather Project (2003) at Tate Modern. This heliocentric drive in his art seems to have little to do with recent theoretical or artistic developments but a lot with the most ancient of speculations concerning vision and the power of the mind. Philosophy as such seems to start as a kind of sun dance. Not only sunflowers, also the tropes of language turn towards the celestial light. Writing about the heliotrope as the foundation all philosophical metaphorics in White Mythology, Jacques Derrida spelled out the limits of what is natural in nature: Each time there is a metaphor, there is doubtless a sun somewhere; but each time there is sun, metaphor has begun. If the sun is metaphorical always, already, it is no longer completely natural. It is always, already, a lustre, a chandelier, one might say an artificial construction”‘

Portikus Frankfurt am Main
Alte Brücke 2 Maininsel
60594 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Telephone 49 69 962 44 54-0 Fax 49 69 962 44 54-24


The project is supported by

Portikus Frankfurt am Main

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