Tate Modern  Turbine Hall
8 October 2003 – 21 March 2004

The Icelandic/Danish artist Olafur Eliasson is to undertake the fourth in The Unilever Series of commissions for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Olafur Eliasson has become known for his installations and sculptures featuring natural materials such as light, steam, water, fire, wind and ice. In 2001 he had a major exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and he will represent Denmark in the forthcoming Venice Biennale in 2003.

Olafur Eliasson’s work considers the boundaries of human perception and the relationship between nature, architecture and technology. The physical environment which surrounds Eliasson is also evident in the work. He has used steam to render the phenomena of natural geysers, created geodesic dome-like installations referencing utopian architecture and imported lava from Iceland’s volcanic landscape to present new terrain within gallery spaces.

Combining such elements with modern technology, Eliasson’s installations plunge the viewer into a physiological as well as psychological experience. Fascinated by human perception of nature he has said ‘I think there is often a discrepancy between the experience of seeing and the knowledge or expectation of what we are seeing’. In 2000 at the Bonakdar Gallery, New York, Eliasson used mirrors to expand the gallery’s architecture and the natural space surrounding it and in Green River 2000, Eliasson turned a river in the city of Stockholm luminous green, challenging the viewer’s knowledge of the natural landscape.

How the eye reads colour and the viewer’s emotional response to different colours is a recurring investigation in the artist’s work. In Room for One Colour (Library) (2002), at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, Eliasson replaced the lamps in the Institute’s library with yellow mono-frequency lights which instantly transformed the books and magazines into monochromatic block-like forms.

The project is curated by Susan May, Curator, Tate Modern. Unilever’s support, totalling £1.25 million over five years, allows Tate Modern to commission a new work for the Turbine Hall each year until 2004. Previous commissions in The Unilever Series have been completed by the French-American artist Louise Bourgeois (2000), the Spanish artist Juan Muñoz (2001), and the British artist Anish Kapoor (2002).

Olafur Eliasson was born in 1967 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He attended the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen from 1989 to 1995 and currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He has participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide and his work is represented in public and private collections including the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Deste Foundation, Athens. Recently he has had major solo exhibitions at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria, Neue Galerie Graz, Austria and ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany, which confirmed Eliasson’s reputation as one of the most perceptive and inventive artists working today.

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