The International Career Lamp and the photographic series Untitled (Iceland Studies), are both iconic works that incorporate all the important aspects of the artist's oeuvre and artistic powers.
Olafur Eliasson has built an international reputation as the most versatile talent as a sculptor, installation artist and photographer and he has become a master at manipulating natural phenomena. He creates elegant and sensational sculptural objects from immaterial sensations such as temperature, smell, taste, air and light. Eliasson's works are based on the research of human perception and sense cognition i.e. how time, space, colour and light occur as sensational phenomena. Heightening our awareness of the fact that it is through our bodies that we inhabit the world, and that through a better grasp of the nature of perception, we can gain insight into our existence in the world.
International Career Lamp
The International Career Lamp is so powerful and monumental in scale that it envelopes the viewer in an all encompassing feel of light. The artwork has up until now been part of a significant private collection and the work is a landmark in Olafur Eliasson's carreer.
Experiencing the lamp is like looking into a magic gazing eye but in fact, it is at oneself one looks. Microscopic prisms reflect the light waves and materialize the colours in the light. Deep and brilliant in colour and intensity, the foil reflects both the viewer and the surrounding area. Thus the work creates a tangible and visual understanding of perception.
Acting as a lamp and so fulfilling a functional role, International Career Lamp hangs either from the ceiling or as a vertical wall installation. The lamp is clad with a foil of microscopic prismatic structure that reflects the surrounding space. But the foil's further function is to break light waves and display their colours. The feature illustrates how colour materializes when light is reflected from it and strikes the retina.
The Career Lamp was made in three different sizes, Local, National and International Career Lamp and they were originally installed in the Karriere bar in Copenhagen, an art project by Jeppe Hein and his sister Laerke Hein. The context of the bar is an informal and socially relaxed setting for the experience of art, as an alternative to museums and kunsthalls. The venue includes works by an impressive assembly of artists such as Franz Ackerman, Ceal Floyer, Ernesto Neto, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Olafur Eliasson.
Untitled (Iceland series)
The photographic series is part of a larger study of the Icelandic landscape . Picture series of rocks, trails, islands or caves document geographic formations that characterize the terrain. The individual images are arranged in random grids or horizontally alined. Olafur Eliasson grew up on Iceland, and its unusual landscape with equal parts of fire, air and water have been a great inspiration to him. His personal knowledge of Icelandic history and geology has resulted in that many of his photographic works are performed there. In the Untitled (Iceland series) he studies aspects of the Icelandic ice sheet.
His work has sometimes been compared with Bernd and Hilla Becker's typological studies of industrial buildings. But Eliasson's work is way too personal and experimental to be read only typologically; each individual photograph documents a specific place in a specific stage but seen together they describe a wider experience - nature displayed in aprocess of cinstant change. Shifts of light, form and colour appears when the pictures are hanging side by side and the individual imagebecomes part of a larger stillness and abstraction. Geographers seek not only the answers to how Earth is constituted, but they are also trying to dtermine if it materialized naturally or as aresult of human influence. Eliasson's role is not to scrutinize nature but to create a further visual experience.
Olafur Eliasson was born in Denmark in 1967 to Icelandic parents. During the early 1990s, he was trained at Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen. Influences from Buckminster Fuller's ideas about geometry, space, and architecture are clearly part of his artistic production and not least in his pavilions, tunnels and camera obscura object. In order to realize his visions, he collaborate with architects and other specialists in various fields. His studio in Berlin serves as a research laboratory, where he together with seventy employees conceptualize and construct the big art projects. Olafur Eliasson is considered one of the most important representatives of his generation and is represented at major museum collections around the world.
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