OLAFUR ELIASSON: EXPERIENCE | London Literature Festival, Southbank Centre

Olafur Eliasson’s art pieces are powerful and primal, a deceptively complex composite of nature, science and technique. On the occasion of the release of his new book Olafur Eliasson: Experience, the Danish-Icelandic artist treated the Southbank audience to an in-depth discussion of his artistic point of view.

The talk, hosted by Achim Borchardt-Hume, Director of Exhibitions and Programmes at Tate Modern, revealed the complex mixture of ideas that go into Eliasson’s artistic practice. He is, for example, keenly interested in science, be it physics or behavioural psychology. Eliasson absorbs the lessons of science, and then subsumes them into artworks where experience trumps analysis.

Indeed, Eliasson frequently underscored the transformative importance of embodiment; coming into contact with an object: for example an ice block, placed at the Place du Panthéon in Paris, or a huge incandescent sun, placed within Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. The gentle experience of Eliasson’s art encourages the viewer to re-evaluate herself within this open, benign, but slightly altered space.

Despite his focus on embodiment and experience, the Danish-Icelandic artist, based in Copenhagen and in Berlin, devises pieces that reveal their own industrial craftsmanship. Art, for Olafur Eliasson, is both deeply transformative and democratic at once.

This talk took place on 26 October 2018, as part of the London Literature Festival. Olafur Eliasson: Experience is available for purchase now.

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