Going to an exhibition of Olafur Eliasson is to pay an appointment away from what is normally understood by going to a museum, just like Viola and others. We have been going through an art based on experience for many years. We leave the contemplation of the work, more typical of convulsive periods, and move on to an experiential one, more in line with these sedentary times dominated by the office hours and Netflix. The artist proposes works with an intellectual vocation and defined ideological approaches, but that requires the spectator’s complicity and participation, as was the case in those readings by Conrad, London or Stevenson. The visitor can enter the fog, listen to the noise of the waves, interact with the light, touch moss and be clear in the consciousness that is in a museum and not in a forest or a rocky bed at the edge of the sea. In an era marked by the urban, Olafur Eliasson, a guy taller and quieter than a summer sky, puts nature in art centers, musealizes it, so that we can reflect on it. His concern for the environment comes from his vacation in Iceland, a beautiful place, with an impressive landscape, but where the most exciting thing there are the thaws.
The result is interactive, entertaining pieces of an apparent simplicity, but of a deep ambition that now the Guggenheim Museum, with the sponsorship of Iberdrola, exhibits in the exhibition “In real life.” About thirty works produced between 1990 and 2000 (except “Future imaginary”, which he created for this assembly) that are a retrospective on his imaginary. With them, Eliasson wants the reader to assume that reality is uniform, and variable, as he shows us with “Room of a color”, where the white light is yellow. A simple change that makes us understand that the objects we appreciate only have their color because we observe them under a white illumination. In another montage we approach the formation of tides and, with a hanging garden, it refers us to the expiration of life. A showcase has been filled with its models and the impression, more than the projects of an artist, is that of a Noah’s ark or a three-dimensional planisphere of the geometries that dominate nature (Some reproduced them on a large scale, such as “Your spiral vision”, a steel corridor where the figures are reflected and multiplied).
The museum as a parliament
Eliasson is considered an artist, not an illusionist. This principle explains that you do not hide the machinery of your parts. But, also, it approximates the idea of creator, one who is capable of generating worlds. Man worried about the perspective, delving into the notion of spaces, which has denounced the deterioration of glaciers and poles (there is the mold of a piece of ice that melted), recognizes that «take the water, the ice, the fire and I present it inside a museum. Thus I create a link between art and nature. It is a way to explore the site we have in it. If something is wrong with her, it is not because it is wrong, but it would be necessary to review the relationship we have with her ». Eliasson asks “people to be part of the co-production of their art and recover the illusion of creating magic” and recalls the importance of experience, a fundamental element of his art: “I have always been interested in our senses, but also as A way to be critical. Culture has to do with experience ». In this sense, for Eliasson, son of a seamstress and a ship chef (but also an artist), “an art center is a safe space” where to get in touch with a series of impressions, but also adds, «The museum is a parliament, a place where you can dialogue with different ideas, which are open to dialogue and controversy to contrast our principles and values, and prevent populism, nationalism, xenophobia and behaviors that are patriarchal». The artist, who has a serene speech, but who does not haggle any political or philosophical implication, was totally against Brexit and declared that “it is a very sad result. A failure of a whole narrative to create a speech for the European Union. It is as if we have forgotten what we share and have given ourselves only to the emotional ».