PopUp Painting’s ‘artist of the week’ is Olafur Eliasson.
Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967) is a Danish artist known for creating large-scale installations that employ elemental materials such as light, water, and temperature, to play with the viewers perception of space, time and environment.
Olafur Eliasson was born in Copenhagen in 1967 to Icelandic parents. The artist studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Arts. In 1990 Eliasson was awarded a travel budget by the Royal Danish Academy and moved to New York to work as a studio assistant for artist Christian Eckhar. It was here that Eliasson began reading about phenomenology and his interest in environmental situations started to take form. Eliasson realised that collaborating with specialists to create his work would enable him the expertise he needed to make the large scale installations that he craved. These installations aimed to harness the power of nature. Eliasson has continued working in this way employing different specialists from project to project ranging from architects and engineers to critical thinkers.
The scale and complexity of the artist’s project have grown to such a height that Eliasson opened ‘Studio Olafur Eliasson’. The studio is known as a “laboratory for spatial research” and employs a team of architects, engineers, craftsmen, and assistants (some 30 members as of 2008) who work together to conceive and construct artworks such as installations and sculptures, as well as large-scale projects and commissions.
One of Olafur Elaisson’s seminal works is ‘The Weather Project’, an installation which transported a glowing, sun-like orb into Tate’s Turbine Hall, filling the massive space with transcendent light.
In recent years Eliasson’s work has assumed a decidedly more political stance with numerous works overtly addressing climate change. In 2015, the artist installed a legion of melting ice blocks in central Paris during the United Nations Climate Change Conference.