May 26, 2004 - Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg - Olafur Eliasson
May 26, 2004

Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson
Your Lighthouse: Works with Light 1991 – 2004

29 May – 5 September 2004

Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
Porschestrasse 53
38440 Wolfsburg
phone: +49-5361-2669-0

Olafur Eliasson, Inside out, 2004, mirror foil, wood, aluminium, 40 x 40 m, neugerriemschneider, Berlin, and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

In the 10 years since it was founded, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg has regularly shown solo exhibitions dedicated to up-and-coming young artistic positions. Now, on its 10th birthday, the Kunstmuseum presents an extensive exhibition of works by the artist Olafur Eliasson, born 1967 in Copenhagen, who was previously shown here in the 1999 exhibition German Open: Contemporary Art in Germany. Since then, Eliasson’s work has gained widespread international recognition. At the 50th Biennale di Venezia in 2003 an extensive installation by the artist filled the entire pavilion of his native country, and his recent installation The Weather Project in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London also met with international acclaim.

Through his artistic treatment of optical and physical phenomena that are familiar to us from nature and the natural sciences, Olafur Eliasson has had a decisive influence on the current debate surrounding the experience of nature. His preoccupation with aspects of human perception and natural laws is aimed at questioning our concept of nature and at the same time reflects on the technical aids we use to observe and depict the natural world. This leads Eliasson above all to conclude that all experience of nature is based on certain premises. Gijs van Tuyl has described Eliasson’s works as follows: “In his presentations the works are absolutely visual or sensuous; they bear no trace of a lifeless documentary presentation or an academic art of ideas. Key terms in his approach are perceiving, feeling, seeing, mirroring, surroundings, reflection, mediation, motion, condition, evolution, space, time and image.”

Within the artist’s still relatively young oeuvre, the works that deal in the widest sense with light in its diverse manifestations occupy a pivotal position. Among these are the mirror works, some of which were shown in the Danish pavilion at the 50th Biennale in Venice in his installation entitled The Blind Pavilion.

The exhibition consists of 13 mainly large-scale works. The scope of the exhibits ranges from the spotlight piece Infinity (1991) to new works which Eliasson developed for this exhibition, and incorporates all the major aspects of the theme of light in the artist’s work, using spotlights, projections, mirrors, colour filters, colour effect filters, fog and optical lenses.

Eliasson’s artistic concept always includes the exhibition visitors, their sensory perception, reflection, memory and projections. Through their presence they transform the installations, influence the course of events and become aware of their perception, and also of themselves as perceivers. This relationship is also emphasized in the recurrence of the word ‘Your’ in the titles chosen by the artist for his exhibitions: Your windless arrangement, Your sun machine, Your strange certainty still kept or Your compound view. The viewers receive an offer, a ‘gift’ and share the responsibility in accepting and using it. Eliasson describes the relationship as follows: “The audience is the work, as everything else is constantly changing.” On the one hand, therefore, the title of the Wolfsburg exhibition is an invitation and offer to the viewer, and on the other it plays on the notion of ‘lighthouse’, converting the Kunstmuseum into a ‘house of light’ – with all the associated metaphorical connotations.

The exhibition was made possible by the generous support of Volkswagen Bank Braunschweig. Volkswagen Bank has been committed to supporting cultural projects for over 10 years, and through its support for the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg it has broadened its spectrum of activity in the region.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with a preface by Gijs van Tuyl, essays by Holger Broeker, Jonathan Crary, Richard Dawkins and Annelie Lutgens as well as a catalogue raisonne of the “Works with Light” by Holger Broeker. The 192-page publication includes approx. 260 colour illustrations.

Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
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