Monday, 18 August 2008

Olafur Eliasson @Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona

The first major exhibition of Olafur Eliasson´s work in Spain has recently opened at Fundació Joan Miró and any self-respecting culture vulture should not pass up on this unique opportunity to check it out. The Nature of Things, as this exhibition is called, exemplifies his creative output from 1993 to the present and amasses a total of 50 artworks, including several new pieces that were specifically commissioned for this show. Encompassing sculpture, photography and large-scale installation, Eliasson explores light, colour and space to create optical effects while always foregrounding the sensory experience of the work itself. Nimbly intersecting art with science he draws our attention to natural phenomena by physically immersing the viewer in the work, the most famous example of this of course being his groundbreaking project, The Weather Project for which he generated a spectacular artificial sunset complete with tangible elements such as steam and heat in the Turbine Hall of London´s Tate Modern in 2003.

A similar visceral reaction is sparked to heighten one´s experience of the everyday here at the Barcelona exhibition via Who is Afraid (2004). Suspended from the ceiling are three dichromatic glass discs of various sizes which rotate randomly at different speeds, each is of a primary colour: cyan, magenta or yellow. A spotlight shines light onto the discs, some of which is reflected off their surfaces in complimentary colours, while some passes through them to form a seductive coloured projection of the wall opposite. There comes a beautiful moment when the shifting shapes magically align in perfect symmetry, with each of the colour circles overlapping the next in equal measure, thus creating the additive primary colours red, green and blue. It is of the kind of wonderfully inventive and impressive stuff that courts private applause, deceptively simple in its construction yet bedazzling to behold.

Olafur Eliasson
Fundació Joan Miró
Until 28th September