Friday, July 07, 2017

MAC 2017: Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson
June 21- October 9, 2017

Montreal's Museum of Modern Art (MAC) is presenting an exhibition by an Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. It is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Canada. Applying scientific principles to the exploration of people's relationship to time and space, Eliasson builds devices that engage mechanisms of perception. His cross-disciplinary creations provide an immersive experience for exploring the body, movement, self-perception and the environment. These works envelop viewers in a fundamental and rarefied universe composed primarily of space, light and movement.

Olafur Eliasson's Multiple Shadow House installation allows the viewer to participate in the creation of multiple images that are projected onto the walls within a partially delineated house enclosure. Each spectator's movement conjures a specific shadow, a colourful self propagating and duplicating image. These images have kaleidoscopic qualities as they change and repeat themselves with each gesture or step made by a person. In the process of self-multiplication, they create intriguing, repetitious, colourful patterns made of people's shadows. The spectators in fact become a part of Olafur Eliasson's artistic concept and co-creators of his work. This work would not exist without an active spectator participation.

Two Olafur Eliasson's works at the exhibition have water as their principle component. Beauty is made with dispersed tiny water droplets that form a wall-like semi-transparent barrier which can at time appear as a waterfall. Although the piece does not require audience's participation, a number of visitors try to catch some droplets, or to touch the ephemeral wall created by them.

Olafur Eliasson, Beauty, 1993 Spotlight, water, nozzles, hose, pump  Courtesy the artist; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; neugerriemschneider, Berlin  Photo: Sébastien Roy, Image courtesy of @ MAC Museum

The second Olafur Eliasson's water work has strong sculptural quality.  At each flash of the light, the spectator sees a well defined sculptural form created by the upward ejected stream of water in a fountain like manner. Although one cannot see clearly what is happening between the bursts of light, the water ejections appear to be timed to the light. Each "flash" creates a complex and visually intriguing 3-D form in space, as a spectator anticipates with curiosity the next sculptural water shape to become visible with the next flash of the light.

Olafur Eliasson's exhibition at MAC is curated by Mark Lanctôt.

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For more information on this exhibition and the MAC museum, visit the museum's website.

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