Press Release

Olafur Eliasson: In real life

11 July 2019 – 5 January 2020
Supported by the Olafur Eliasson Exhibition Supporters Circle, Tate Patrons and Tate Members
Open daily 10.00 – 18.00 and until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday

For public information call +44(0)20 7887 8888, visit tate.org.uk or follow @Tate #olafureliasson

Olafur Eliasson Your spiral view 2002 Installation view at Foundation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland, 2002 © Olafur Eliason Photo: Jens Ziehe Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany

This summer, Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967) will return to Tate Modern following his world-renowned Turbine Hall installation The weather project in 2003, for an unmissable exhibition of his career to date. Marking the most comprehensive solo presentation of Eliasson’s work, and his first major survey in the UK, Olafur Eliasson: In real life will offer a timely opportunity to experience the immersive world of this endlessly inquisitive artist.

Olafur Eliasson consistently seeks to make his art relevant to society, engaging the public in memorable ways both inside and outside the gallery. Driven by his interests in perception, movement, and the interaction of people and their environments, he creates artworks which offer experiences that can be shared by visitors of all ages. Tate Modern will bring together over 30 works spanning the last three decades – from celebrated early installations like Beauty 1993, to new paintings and sculptures. For the first time, the exhibition will also examine Eliasson’s wider collaborations in fields as diverse as sustainability, migration, education and architecture, allowing viewers to explore how these projects extend his artistic practice.


Each installation, or group of works, will encompass a key theme explored within Eliasson’s career. This will include his early investigations into space, motion and natural phenomena – as explored in Moss wall 1994, featuring lichen native to Eliasson’s homeland Iceland – to extensive experiments with light, colour, geometry, perception and participation that characterise his work today – such as Stardust particle 2016. Other installations like Your spiral view 2002 and Your uncertain shadow (colour) 2010 incorporate reflections and shadows to play with the way we navigate or perceive the world. Together they reflect the artist’s core principle of ‘seeing yourself sensing’. As the works reveal the mechanisms behind their own making, we are invited to consider the physical and psychological processes that contribute to how we experience them.

The exhibition will culminate with a space exploring Eliasson’s deep engagement with social and environmental issues. This includes projects such as Little Sun, first launched at Tate Modern in 2012, which provides solar-powered lamps and chargers to communities without access to electricity; Green Light – An Artistic Workshop, hosted by various institutions around the world, in which asylum seekers and refugees, together with members of the public, construct Green light lamps and take part in an accompanying educational programme; and Ice Watch, an installation, recently experienced by visitors to Tate Modern and passers-by, featuring glacial ice from Greenland which aims to inspire public action against climate change. Eliasson’s wide-ranging architectural projects will be explored here, including the recently completed Fjordenhus in Denmark. Viewers will also get behind-the-scenes insight into how Studio Olafur Eliasson works day to day and will be able to engage in collaborative making activities.

Not confined to the gallery walls, Eliasson’s work will extend onto the terrace outside Tate Modern, while further installations such as Room for one colour 1997 will animate the concourse outside the galleries. For the duration of the exhibition Studio Olafur Eliasson will also collaborate with Tate Eats on a special menu for Tate Modern’s Terrace Bar. This will be based on organic, vegetarian and ethically sourced produce that is central to the Studio’s own kitchen in Berlin, where studio members eat family-style meals together every day.

Olafur Eliasson: In real life is at Tate Modern from 11 July 2019 until 5 January 2020. It is curated by Mark Godfrey, Senior Curator, International Art, and Emma Lewis, Assistant Curator, in close collaboration with Studio Olafur Eliasson. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public events throughout the gallery, as well as a new catalogue from Tate Publishing which gives insight into Eliasson’s thinking through conversations between the artist and a wide range of collaborators including architects, musicians, chronobiologists and neuroscientists. Following the presentation at Tate Modern the exhibition will tour to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain from 14 February to 21 June 2020.

For press information contact Rachael.Young@tate.org.uk / Joanna.Sandler@tate.org.uk or call +44(0)20 7887 8832 / 4942. High resolution press images can be downloaded from https://bit.ly/2HGuoyH

Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967) grew up in Iceland and Denmark. In 1995 he founded Studio Olafur Eliasson in Berlin, which today includes craftsmen, architects, archivists, researchers, administrators, cooks, programmers, art historians, and specialized technicians. Since the mid-1990s Eliasson has realised numerous major exhibitions and projects around the world. In 2003 The weather project, installed in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, was seen by more than two million people. Eliasson’s projects in public space include Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007, designed with Kjetil Thorsen for London’s Kensington Gardens; The New York City Waterfalls, 2008; and Ice Watch, for which Eliasson and geologist Minik Rosing transported massive blocks of glacial ice from Greenland to Copenhagen (2014), Paris (2015), and London (2018) to raise awareness of climate change. In 2012 Eliasson founded the social business Little Sun, and in 2014 he and architect Sebastian Behmann founded Studio Other Spaces, an office for art and architecture.

Visit olafureliasson.net; studiootherspaces.net; or littlesun.com or follow @olafureliasson on Twitter; @studioolafureliasson or @soe_kitchen on Instagram; and @studioolafureliasson on Facebook.