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Colour Activity House | Olafur Eliasson

March 26, 2010

Eliasson has created numerous site-specific works. In this exhibition, he will interpret, architecturally and functionally, the Museum’s building designed by KAZUYO SEJIMA + RYUE NISHIZAWA /
SANAA. Rather than simply displaying works, he will engage with the Museum’s special architecture, in an exhibition that includes the museum building within its scope.

This exhibition is part of the 5th Anniversary Exhibition at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa. In marking its fifth anniversary, the Museum will hold a large-scale solo exhibition structured around new works by the Danish/ Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson titled Your chance encounter. The Colour Activity House is part of the exhibition.

Olafur Eliasson is known for his exploration of the human perception. His works, often using light, shadow, color, fog, wind, waves, and other phenomena of nature as materials, make apparent to the viewer the mechanisms employed in their presentation. Contrary to what might be expected, this enables people to enjoy more purely the act of seeing, as they discover and experience their
surroundings. For example, in Your atmospheric colour atlas, 2009, a large gallery is filled with artificially produced fog, imbued with color emanating from fluorescent tubes of red, green and blue.

From the press release:

Based on a profound understanding of SANAA’s design for this museum, both architecturally and functionally, Eliasson boldly engages the factors that constitute 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. In Eye activity line, 2009, 317 canvases of different colors, each about the size of an A5 sheet of paper, are installed on the wall of a long corridor. As our eye follows along the work, which is like a full palette of colors, we are freshly awakened to the character of the space. In such ways, Eliasson explores the Museum’s unique features, displaying works not only in galleries but also in corridors and rest areas, so as to give play to the Museum’s meandering layout and horizontal character, and endeavoring through his artworks to bring interior and exterior into close connection. As they move through the museum building, visitors may be surprised at how Eliasson has transformed the familiar art museum spaces.

As Eliasson says: “By working with different filters to people’s experience – colour, light, and various natural phenomena – I hope to set into motion reflections on the museum, the park, and its urban surroundings as constructions themselves, each developed to fulfil one or more ideals. I find this critical re-examination a valuable act. It suggests that the power structures and intentionalities embodied and re-enacted in cities, buildings, and museums can be negotiated and thereby, to some extent, changed. Much has been achieved if art can compel people to do this. And if such action is accompanied by a feeling of responsibility for the situations in which one participates, a new level of criticality has been reached. This can, with little difficulty, be transferred to everyday life: whatever ideas and feelings art arouses, these are intimately connected to life in general. The museum is nothing without its users – the show is ultimately about them.”

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More info: Olafur Eliasson web-site

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa web-site


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