Olafur Eliasson: Orizzonti tremanti / Trembling horizons: Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Italy
From 3 November 2022 to 26 March 2023 Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea presents the exhibition Olafur Eliasson: Orizzonti tremanti / Trembling horizons. The artist transforms the Manica Lunga wing of Castello di Rivoli by installing a new series of six immersive wedge-shaped optical device-like artworks in the long gallery. Inside each, the viewer can watch complex patterns unfold in fluid motion within a 360-degree panoramic space that seems more expansive than physically possible – optical illusions created through mirrors and light projections.
Since the late nineties, Eliasson’s practice has combined the memory of the encounter with nature with the broad branches of science and ecological thought, proposing works that invite the active participation of those who meet them. Orizzonti tremanti presents new works that derive from experiments conducted by the artist at his Berlin studio. Eliasson was inspired by scientific instruments, taking into consideration the ambivalent role they have played throughout history. Produced over the last year, the new works on display propose a closer relationship between body and mind, recognizing the value of subjective and sensorial experience.
In the Manica Lunga – a vast baroque gallery – the exhibition opens with Navigation star for utopia, 2022, a luminous, suspended work that welcomes visitors. Its beams of colored light shine across the environment and draw light effects, almost suggesting an orientation tool for the future.
This is followed by the series of works the artist has created for the space of the Manica Lunga: Your curious kaleidorama, Your power kaleidorama, Your self-reflective kaleidorama, Your hesitant kaleidorama, Your memory of the kaleidorama, and Your living kaleidorama. Each is mounted on the gallery wall and oriented at a different angle. Visitors enter from below the constructions or face straight on to view projections of illuminated lines, forms, and patterns. These are generated in real time using a spotlight beam either reflected off an adjacent basin of water or shone through a lens system. Eliasson calls these works kaleidoramas, combining the words kaleidoscope and panorama.
Eliasson comments: “They are, in a sense, both: they use the mirror effect of the kaleidoscope to conjure panoramic or landscape-like spaces that seem bigger than the physical place in which they’re shown, a space that you can stand inside. They open up new horizons within their reflective surfaces, unfolding spaces in which you encounter waves, horizon lines, reflections, bands of light diffracted into the colors of the visible spectrum, and your own shadows and those of other visitors multiplied. Standing inside these kaleidoramas, you may feel as if you were watching time unfold. It is an opportunity to reconsider your sense of scale and time, like when you study images from a deep-space telescope, which come from the very limits of our imagination.”
In all the kaleidoramas, audiences watch complex patterns of oscillating elements interact to create an evolving visual and spatial environment. The visual compositions swell and subside in frequency and rhythm – some in gentle waves, others in violent trembling – according to the behaviour of water or influence of optical instruments.
The exhibition culminates in Your non-human friend and navigator, 2022, with parts suspended in the air and set up on the floor. This new installation is produced using two pieces of driftwood, logs carried by the sea, worn out by the action of the elements. Eliasson collected the wood from the beaches of Iceland, where the logs land after travelling many kilometers from distant countries. The presence of a magnet orients the suspended part of the work along the north–south axis, while the thin veils of watercolor applied to the wood laid on the floor evoke the sea currents that have driven it for thousands of miles.
“The work of Olafur Eliasson – says Castello di Rivoli Museum Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev – contains echoes of Arte Povera, in particular of Giuseppe Penone, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Giovanni Anselmo and Marisa Merz, who are important artists in our collection and to the Turin region where Arte Povera was born. Through his art, the process-based and ecological thought of the sixties is linked to the contemporary vision as an organic development.”
Chief Curator and curator of the exhibition Marcella Beccaria comments: “In Orizzonti tremanti, Olafur Eliasson invites us to open our gaze beyond the boundaries of the visible, from the vertigo of deep space to the emotion of encountering ourselves and our inner landscapes. By involving body and mind, the works contribute to making the role of each one perceptible in the production of reality and in the construction of this unstable present.”
On the occasion of Orizzonti tremanti / Trembling horizons, a special reading room dedicated to Olafur Eliasson is open to the public in the spaces of Castello di Rivoli Library and Research Center. The room collects a broad selection of catalogues covering the artist’s production, starting from the very first solo exhibitions in the nineties up to the present.
Olafur Eliasson exhibited at Castello di Rivoli in 1999 for his first museum exhibition outside Scandinavia, and again in 2008 during the second Turin Triennale, when he created The sun has no money. Works from both exhibitions are part of the Collections of the Castello di Rivoli.
On the occasion of Orizzonti tremanti, Eliasson’s installation Your circumspection disclosed, 1999, is installed in the mezzanine of the Manica Lunga, the gallery for which it was originally conceived. In December, to coincide with the 38th anniversary of the museum, The sun has no money, 2008, will be installed in the vaulted, 18th-century gallery for which it was initially planned by Eliasson.
All photo by Agostino Osio
Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
© 2022 Olafur Eliasson