Book of the Week: Olafur Eliasson: Experience

Book of the Week: Olafur Eliasson: Experience

A new overview of three decades work by the Icelandic-Danish artist explores our relationship with nature, both in awe and wonder… 

Appropriately enough as our new issue, ‘The Elements’, hits the newsstands, this monograph by the master of elemental art provides a concise career retrospective to date. From his famous installation The Weather Project (which drew an incredible two million visitors to Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2003-04) to equally monumental works including Waterfall which seemed to be suspended in the air above the ornamental lakes at the Palace of Versailles (2016), this book captures Eliasson’s scale and vision.

But there are also moments of surprising calm and delicacy – watercolours and works in glass reveal a lightness of touch that take the breath away in other, more subtle ways.

Eliasson has always been a master at breaking down the ‘fourth wall’ of the traditional white space gallery, bringing nature indoors and artfully juxtaposing the architectural with the organic. Witness Riverbed (2014, above) in which visitors scramble over rocky terrain that changes the dimensions of the gallery space. Likewise Beauty (1993, below) a shimmering installation created by simply shining light through cascades of water falling from hoses. The book also reveals some of the artist’s latest works from 2018, and was conceived in close collaboration between the artist, with an opening essay by art historian Michelle Kuo.

Olafur Eliasson: Experience is published by Phaidon, 15 October 2018 (£65)

Eliasson will discuss Experience at the Southbank Centre on 26 October. Tickets southbankcentre.co.uk

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