Olafur Eilasson is no stranger to creating immersive, experiential artworks and installations. His works at the Versailles in summer 2016 still resonate with us as some of the coolest art to see in person. Currently on view through August 12, 2018, the Icelandic-Danish artist is showcasing The unspeakable openness of things at Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing, China, with some of his most beautiful works to date.
This extensive exhibit comprises an array of large-scale immersive installations, sculptures and works on paper by Olafur Eliasson, and encompasses the Red Brick Museum's eight exhibition halls, its garden and the Round Hall. Each space in the exhibition conjures a discrete environment dedicated to a specific natural phenomenon, such as light, fog, shadow, water, geometry, and movement. The simple, yet effective experimental setups address topics that have been important to Eliasson throughout his career. As the visitor moves through the galleries, she journeys through a series of immersive environments; beginning with the intense light of The unspeakable openness of things (2018), which was created especially for the site, moving on to The lost compass (2013) in the Round Hall, the erratic rhythm of the Water pendulum (2010), the patterned shadows of Map for unthought thoughts (2014), and finally, Rainbow assembly (2016), in which light is refracted through a circular curtain of mist to reveal the visible spectrum.
The more intimate spaces abutting the main installations allow the viewer to focus on a selection of watercolors made with glacial ice, (Glacial landscapes (1-12), 2018), glass spheres that shift in colour as one moves around them (Chronobiological sphere (green, blue, purple, red, orange, yellow), 2018), rings of glass that paint with light (Tomorrow resonator and Yesterday resonator, both 2018), as well as red mirrors that produce openings into an illusory space (The round corner (0°, 18, 36°, 54°, 72°, 90°) 2018). In the gallery downstairs, Your sound galaxy (2012) presents a circle of twenty-seven polyhedra. In the gardens, The blind pavilion (2003), a seminal work first shown as part of Eliasson’s presentation in the Danish Pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 2003, can be visited, as can the double spheres of Two unthought thoughts (2015).