Author: Maria-Luisa Hernandez-Enriquez

The work of Olafur Eliasson: Tate Modern exhibition review

The use of light for experience, investigation and play

[Maria Luisa Hernandez Enriquez is an Industrial Engineer with a love for art who studied for one semester at Christie’s Education. She was a student on the City, University of London Writing for Business short course in October-December 2019. Maria Luisa wrote this review as part of a homework/in-class exercise on that course.]

Olafur Eliasson’s performative practices provide a space for the spectator to interact with the artwork itself. He has created a wide variety of pieces including sculptures, installations, paintings and photography, using materials that are not common in the art world: mist, fire, water, stone and light. The materials look to nature and evoke the landscape of his native land.

There is a humanistic approach in the work of Eliasson; it is completed when the viewer experiments with it through their senses and mind. The artist crafts the experience for the viewer to interact with it, and afterwards the viewer activates the masterpiece. It could be said that the art piece is not complete until the viewer plays with it and has their own experience.

Through collaboration the artist merges science and art, creating a unique environment for the visitor. The artwork may appear to be simple; however the process of making it involves a lot of study. Eliasson successfully achieves the application of engineering and geometry to art pieces, and manages to engage with the viewer.

If you are lucky enough to be able to see one of his works, do not hesitate and go. An unmissable exhibition is just finishing, on 5th January 2020, at the Tate Modern in London: ‘Olafur Eliasson in real life’. It is spectacular and sensorial. To enjoy it, you do not need to know anything at all about art, just time. It brings together over 40 works of art completed since 1990 by the Danish-Icelandic artist.

Image: Tate Modern promotional literature 2019: tate.org.uk