Light and space: two fundamental aspects of nature are central to Olafur Eliasson’s work as an artist. In 2003, he made it possible to experience them in his large-format Weather Project, a comprehensive installation for the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London. Over two million visitors let themselves be overwhelmed by the artificial sun that Eliasson caused to rise in a sky of mirrors – to no small extent, this can also be seen as a major social, group experience. Eliasson is not as interested in light’s physical optical properties (although his complex works necessitate in-depth study of these) as he is in its social functions and impact.
This also applies to his untitled 2003 piece for the urban depot Werkhof Zentrum Zürich Nord. Provided that the sun shines, sunlight is reflected by a large wall of mirrors at varying angles on the opposite side of the courtyard, so that it passes through panes of glass, each taller than a human being, in the colours of the rainbow. A Farbspiegellichtfeld (the work’s second title, meaning coloured mirrored light field) of white and coloured light is extended across the entire courtyard. Its points of light move with the sun. Thus, the overriding cycles of the day and seasons cause the daily work carried out at the depot to be illuminated and accompanied by ever-changing constellations.
Courtesy of the artist and Fachstelle Kunst und Bau, Stadt Zürich
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