Press Release

The Unilever Series: Olafur Eliasson

The Unilever Series: Olafur Eliasson: Press related to past exhibition.

Tate Modern  Turbine Hall
16 October – 21 March 2003

The Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson is to undertake the fourth in The Unilever Series of commissions for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Olafur Eliasson’s work considers the boundaries of human perception and the relationship between nature, architecture and technology and he has become known for his installations and sculptures featuring natural materials such as light, steam, water, fire, wind and ice. In 2002 he had a major exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and he is currently representing Denmark in the Venice Biennale (until 2 November 2003).

In preparation for the exhibition in October, Eliasson has been investigating the British pre-occupation with the weather. He is fascinated by the socialising potential of the weather, the weather being a subject that is constantly talked about, as well as people’s experience of the weather in the UK. His explorations throughout the last few months will inform the installation and be included as part of the accompanying catalogue.

The experience of the physical environment which surrounds Eliasson is often evident in his 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 an experience and the knowledge or expectation of what we are experiencing’. 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.

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, Reina Sofia, Madrid 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. In tandem with this The Unilever Series, Olafur Eliasson will be collaborating with the geography department at the Open University in Milton Keynes.

Open: Sun – Thur 10.00 – 18.00, Fri and Sat 10.00 – 22.00