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Olafur Eliasson at SF MoMA and at MoMA in 2008


Great article on Olafur Eliasson by Dorothy Spears in today’s NY Times. Eliasson, who created a “melting moments” color environment here at Arcadia University art gallery in 2004 is having a major retrospective at SF Moma that opens next Saturday. The show — with 20 installations including new work — will travel to New York and be installed at at MoMA and PS 1 in the April, 2008.

This is an artist we admire greatly here at artblog both for his playful interventions with colors and lights and for his creation of both spiritual space and social space for human interaction. This exhibit will be a great chance to see the range of his works. I’m very excited. Here’s Libby’s post about the Arcadia installation and here’s mine.

Intense color green in Eliasson's Your Colour Memory at Arcadia in 2004
Intense color green in Eliasson’s Your Colour Memory at Arcadia in 2004

Here’s my Weekly sketch about Eliasson’s Arcadia piece from Dec. 8, 2004, which never made it into the Artblog archive.

Artists have long been interested in optical effects and the magic of light and color. In the 20th century Dan Flavin, James Turrell and others used colored lights to create art that was a kind of optical magic. Danish-born artist Olafur Eliasson, whose “Your Colour Memory” is at Arcadia University, has taken the magic a step further, creating a trippy immersion chamber that’s both art and a space for spiritual reflection and social interaction. The womblike oval room has soft translucent walls lit from within by lighting elements programmed to subtly change color. They run the gamut from quiet hues of yellow and blue to fuchsias and greens of such excruciating intensity they drown all thought. (A black- curtained closet has been installed inside as a cool downtime room for those who need or want it.) In the company of others, the piece is a giddy ride that makes you aware of the value of shared experience. Your color memory might not be like my color memory, but we’ll both share the memory of this chamber and seeing each other in it. Unlike James Turrell, whose color projections have a lonely “it’s me and the void” affect, Eliasson courts a crowd. His works, like this one, are humanistic and public, and as such, they’re generous gifts in stingy times. Take your crew and go.