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b. 1976, Denmark

Olafur Eliasson Biography

Olafur Eliasson is a Danish-Icelandic artist known for his sculptures and large-scale, immersive installations. Eliasson completed his studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Art in 1995 and relocated to Berlin upon graduating where he established Studio Olafur Eliasson. Today it employs around seventy professionals working in various fields such as architecture, geometry, and art history.

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Eliasson works across a diverse variety of media including sculpture, painting, photography, film, and installation, although it is his installations which have undoubtedly gathered the most attention. Audiences are able to actively engage with Eliasson’s installations which are immersive environments of colour, light, and movement that endeavour to prompt a greater understanding about the way people can engage with and interpret the world. Many of Eliasson’s works seek to inspire public action against climate change.

Eliasson led the Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments) for five years from 2009 during his time as a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts. The artist launched his solar products business at London’s Tate Modern in 2012 alongside engineer Frederik Ottesen. The organisation aims to promote sustainable global development and provides affordable light sources to communities that are without access to electricity.

Eliasson has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including, most recently, a Crystal Award in 2016 for showing commitment to improving the state of the world. In particular praise was given to his works The New York City Waterfalls, Ice Watch, Riverbed, and The Weather Projects. Other awards granted to the artist have included the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT (2014); the Wolf Prize in Painting and Sculpture (2014); The European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award - alongside Henning Larsen Architects and Batterid (2013); the Joan Miró Prize (2007); and the 3rd Benesse Prize (1999).

In 2007, the first retrospective of Eliasson’s work, Take your time: Olafur Eliasson, was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, before travelling to the Museum of Modern Art and PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York. Olafur Eliasson’s work is held in major public and private collections worldwide, including institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge.

Exhibition view: Group Exhibition, local talent, curated by Thomas Demand, Sprüth Magers, Berlin (4 July–22 August 2020). Courtesy Sprüth Magers. Photo: Timo Ohler.

Olafur Eliasson Featured Artworks

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Your lost lighthouse by Olafur Eliasson contemporary artwork
Olafur EliassonYour lost lighthouse, 2020Lighthouse lens (dated ca. 1900), colour-effect filter cylinder, halogen light bulb, fluorescent light, brass, steel, ballast
218 x 29 x 29 cm
Sprüth Magers Enquire
Quiet Winter Light by Olafur Eliasson contemporary artwork
Olafur EliassonQuiet Winter Light, 2019Coloured glass (yellow fade, light blue), colour-effect filter glass (pink), gold, driftwood
75 x 116 x 12 cm
PKM Gallery Enquire
Slow Winter Light by Olafur Eliasson contemporary artwork
Olafur EliassonSlow Winter Light, 2019Coloured glass (orange fade, blue), coloured glacial-rock-flour glass (medium green), driftwood
76 x 116 x 12 cm
PKM Gallery Enquire
Infinite conversation (lunar infinity) by Olafur Eliasson contemporary artwork
Olafur EliassonInfinite conversation (lunar infinity), 201731 glass spheres, silver, stainless steel, paint ( black)
73 x 188.5 x 20.5 cm
PKM Gallery Enquire
Pivotal study by Olafur Eliasson contemporary artwork
Olafur EliassonPivotal study, 2018Glass spheres, silver, paint (black, white), stainless steel
164 x 164 x 31 cm
PKM Gallery Enquire
Submergence mirror by Olafur Eliasson contemporary artwork
Olafur EliassonSubmergence mirror, 2017Coloured glass (light blue), coloured glacial-rock-flour glass (light green), silver, driftwood
105.5 x 75 x 12 cm
PKM Gallery Enquire
Pebbles on the beach (parquet) by Olafur Eliasson contemporary artwork
Olafur EliassonPebbles on the beach (parquet), 2017Maple, ash, oak, larch, cedar, apple, pear, cherry, elm, American walnut, French walnut, smoked oak
275 x 360 x 7 cm
PKM Gallery Enquire
Jökulsgilskvislm by Olafur Eliasson contemporary artwork
Olafur EliassonJökulsgilskvislm, 2003Two C-prints
PKM Gallery Enquire

Olafur Eliasson Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, local talent at Sprüth Magers, Berlin
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4 July–22 August 2020 Group Exhibition local talent Sprüth MagersBerlin
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, That Which is Not Drawn at Marian Goodman Gallery, London
Closed
25 January–23 February 2019 Group Exhibition That Which is Not Drawn Marian Goodman GalleryLondon
Contemporary art exhibition, Olafur Eliasson, Models for coexistence at PKM Gallery, Seoul
Closed
20 April–20 June 2017 Olafur Eliasson Models for coexistence PKM GallerySeoul

Olafur Eliasson Represented By

PKM Gallery contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea PKM Gallery Seoul

Olafur Eliasson In Ocula Magazine

The Latest: Venice Biennale Delayed till 2022, Olafur Eliasson's AR Bugs, and More Ocula News The Latest: Venice Biennale Delayed till 2022, Olafur Eliasson's AR Bugs, and More Hong Kong, 19 May 2020

This week's need-to-know art news, including Christie's new global auction and an attempt at a fairer art fair by the New Art Dealers Alliance.

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Taipei Connections: Eleven Works to Collect Ocula Insight Taipei Connections: Eleven Works to Collect By Sam Gaskin, Taipei

Ai Weiwei, Odyssey (2016) at Chambers Fine Art Resembling paintings on a Grecian urn, this wallpaper is an epic narrative about the plight of refugees, one of Ai Weiwei's chief concerns in recent years. Ai himself fled China for Europe after years of violence and intimidation. Dóra Maurer, Overlappings 34 (2006). Acrylic on canvas...

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Local to Global: Gallery Weekend Beijing 2018 Ocula Report Local to Global: Gallery Weekend Beijing 2018 By Bowen Li, Beijing

Gallery Weekend Beijing was first staged in 2017 on a number of premises, including the fact that Beijing needed an annual event with international appeal to maintain its place as an art destination after the rise of successful art fairs, and an increasing number of museums, in other regional cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong. As its title...

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All Hail Xu Zhen: Report From Art021, Shanghai 2014 Ocula Report All Hail Xu Zhen: Report From Art021, Shanghai 2014 By Sam Gaskin, Shanghai

ART021 takes its name from the Shanghai dialing code. The numbers serve as a synonym for the city, but only for people calling from within China—-from outside the country, you'd call +8621. Still, 021 make more sense for this fair. Founded in 2013 by local PR director Bao Yifeng and former gallery director Kelly Ying, ART021's chief ambition...

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Olafur Eliasson In Related Press

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Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Announces 7 Site-Specific Installations Related Press Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Announces 7 Site-Specific Installations 5 December 2019, The New York Times

The artists are El Anatsui, Byung Hoon Choi, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Olafur Eliasson, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Cristina Iglesias and Ai Weiwei, and they were commissioned to create a mix of sculptures, light installations and suspended artworks for the 14-acre premises, known as the Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim Campus.

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Kiss, Hug, or Get Lost in Olafur Eliasson’s Giant Reflective Spheres Related Press Kiss, Hug, or Get Lost in Olafur Eliasson’s Giant Reflective Spheres 10 September 2019, Hyperallergic

SAN FRANCISCO — The Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson told Hyperallergic that he hopes his massive public art installation, Seeing spheres, at the new Golden State Warriors stadium will become part of the tissue of San Francisco.

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The Sprawling Ecologies of Olafur Eliasson Related Press The Sprawling Ecologies of Olafur Eliasson 5 August 2019, Hyperallergic

LONDON — The great Rebecca Solnit once wrote: 'During my years as an art critic I used to joke that museums love artists the way that taxidermists love deer, and something of that desire to secure, to stabilize, to render certain and definite the open-ended, nebulous, and adventurous work of artists is present in many who work in that...

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How do art fairs contribute to the climate crisis? Related Press How do art fairs contribute to the climate crisis? 7 June 2019, The Financial Times

As the realities of a global climate emergency begin to sink in, the well-heeled visitors to this year's Art Basel fair can expect to see work that reflects the concerns of the world outside–at least to a certain extent. 'Studies show that the wealthier you are, the bigger your carbon footprint, so it's great that we are now seeing this addressed...

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Olafur Eliasson In Video & Audio

90 tons of glacial ice melt in front of the Paris climate talks Related Video & Audio 90 tons of glacial ice melt in front of the Paris climate talks 5 December 2015, The Creators Project

Eight 11-ton blocks of glacial ice are en route to Paris to make a monumental statement about climate change adjacent to the UN conference on the subject, COP21. An assemblage of boats, cranes, and trucks are transporting the frozen obelisks from from a fjord outside Nuuk, Greenland, to the age-old capital of European culture, courtesy of...

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