LIFE, Olafur Eliasson at the Beyeler Foundation

It’s always a joy to talk about one of our favourite artists: the Icelandic-Dane Olafur Eliasson. And on this occasion, he has struck gold again through his LIVE project, that he has carried out with the landscape architect Günther Vogt for the Beyeler Foundation.

But what does it consist of?

LIFE is a project through which Olafur has eliminated a large number of windows at the Beyeler Foundation to open the museum to its surrounding environment, full of the public park’s plants and animals, to the urban landscape, to the climatology and to the fluctuating daylight. An exhibition that can be observed at any time, day or night, allowing the visitor to see its different mutations.

“This installation is a collective experiment through which to activate our senses and achieve a panoramic conscience.”

LIFE takes us along dark wooden walkways, surrounded by the environmental sounds of insects, traffic and other people, as well as the scents of plants – dwarf water lilies, shell flowers, water ferns – and the green water that has been saturated with uranine, a non-toxic colouring.

Life blurs the edges between indoors and outdoors, between the museum and the installation, and between day and night.”

The installation also highlights perception and the cognitive and cultural conditions that shape it, a common core concept in his different artistic works, as Olafur Eliasson likes to question the way we usually see things, the way we see the world. That’s why he plays with the idea of shifting our view centered on human beings to a wider and more biocentric vision. Because culture and nature are inseparable.

“We are all as much a product of our environment as a result of the relationships that we establish with social, cultural and natural structures.”

This is the reason why whoever is lucky enough to witness this work in person will have a unique experience, without being conditioned by a text or any particular premise. It’s about feeling free to feel, to perceive, to experiment….

Another conscious aspect of this installation is our vulnerability and fragility. A matter that has been, and is increasingly more present in our lives since the appearance of the pandemic, and that has made us realize even more, if possible, how fluid life is, how impertinent we are and the scarcity in underdeveloped countries, but, also in developed ones.

“When we collectively explore the world that we share, we can, or at least I hope we can, make it more habitable for all species.”

(*) Pics by Mark Niedermann. Pic 4 and 6: Pati Grabowicz.



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