OLAFUR ELIASSON: HALL ART FOUNDATION, READING, VERMONT
The Hall Art Foundation is pleased to announce an exhibition by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson to be held in its galleries in Reading, Vermont from 3 May – 30 November 2014. This survey will bring a focused selection of Eliasson’s sculptures, photo series, optical devices, and works on paper together with his major outdoor installation, Waterfall (2004), unveiled at the Hall Art Foundation last year.
Throughout the past two decades, Eliasson’s installations, paintings, photography, films, and public projects have served as tools for exploring the cognitive and cultural conditions that inform our perception. Ranging from immersive environments of color, light, and movement to installations that recontextualize natural phenomena, his work defies the notion of art as an autonomous object and instead positions itself as part of an active exchange with the visitor and his or her individualized experience. Described by the artist as “devices for the experience of reality,” his individual works and projects prompt a greater sense of awareness about the ways we both interpret and co-produce the world. By recreating the natural through artificial means and capturing it in both time and space, Eliasson's work encourages the renegotiation of linear perceptions of space as well as the line between reality and representation.
Eliasson’s Waterfall confronts fundamental perceptions of nature while addressing notions of space and movement. Using everyday industrial scaffolding and a system of plastic pumps that cycle the water, the artist evokes the site, sounds and rhythms of a natural waterfall, while also exposing the mechanics behind its construction and movement. Blurring the lines between the natural and constructed, this work invites viewers to reconsider their own experiences of nature, contemplating not just what they see, but how they see.
Light ventilator mobile (2002) elaborates on the seeing and sensing processes through an experiment involving movement and light. Mimicking the traditional set up of a mobile, this work is composed of two elements – a spotlight and suspended electric fan – attached to opposite ends of a metal bar. Powered by the fan’s blowing air, a beam of light glides across the gallery walls as the mobile rotates and the fan swings at eye level, guiding the viewer’s own movements and shifting perspectives.
Yellow double kaleidoscope (2005) allows the viewer to both consider and challenge the limits of visual perception. In this work, the artist presents two connected hexagonal kaleidoscopes – one made of mirrors, the other of yellow color-effect filter glass – that taper toward the point at which they meet. As viewers peer through either end, the structure works to temporarily reconfigure the surrounding space, presenting a series of perspectives that change with the viewer's own movement. As Eliasson explains "the kaleidoscope makes us understand through experience that what we see through its mechanism is to a large extent negotiable, relative and open for engagement." In such works, as well as others presented in the exhibition, the active engagement and self-awareness of the spectator illustrates what Eliasson describes as “seeing yourself sensing”.
Along with sculpture and public projects, photography has also remained a vital part of Eliasson’s practice and broader investigations of sight and perception. During his regular trips to Iceland over the years, the artist has created series of photographs documenting the country’s unique landscape. Consisting of dozens of images arranged in precise grid formations, works like the Spring puddle series (2004) and The volcano series (2012) present small encyclopedias of a particular subject captured across different locations and times. Through this sequence and shifting perspectives, Eliasson’s photographs project a new way of seeing and perceiving, one that is both dynamic and negotiable.