Who is Olafur Eliasson?
Olafur Eliasson was born in 1967 in Copenhagen but his family immigrated to Iceland later on during his childhood. Since the beginning of his career as an artist, he has worked hard to create visually impactful work that has been characterized by sincerity.
Through the years, Eliasson has built up a reputation for himself as a social practice artist. His works are designed to export art outside of its conventional confines and challenge the way people view and inhabit the world. Throughout his career, Eliasson has become a progressive leader in the kind of art that provokes people to stop and think about the way they view community, culture, and the natural environment that surrounds them.
Eliasson’s work has always been driven by the artist’s desire to make the world a better place. As such, a lot of his projects force the viewers to question their role in environmental pollution. In so doing, Eliasson is highly regarded as an art activist that focuses on environmental preservation and humanitarian future. By creating works that compel uncertainty, his works encourage people to think and sense beyond the limits that they have become accustomed to.
Today, Eliasson is best known for his large-scale installations, which attract interest thanks to his unique scope and variety. Riverbed, for instance, was a site-specific installation that was created for the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark with the aim of blurring the lines between the manmade world and the natural one.
The Riverbed consisted of a large rugged landscape complete with a riverbed and rocks. To construct his riverbed, he filled with museum’s South Wing with dirt and rocks of all sizes before adding a narrow trench of water to resemble a riverbed. Visitors at the exhibition were asked to explore the rugged surface by traveling along the different rooms.
Video: Olafur Eliasson speaks about ‘Riverbed’
Recreating his rugged landscaped complete landscapes, it is clear that Eliasson’s Riverbed was a product of site-specific installation inspiration. Not only did the museum selected by Eliasson for his landscape lend a raw and elemental power, but the museum space itself also acted as a work of art.
His exhibition was created to question the meaning and the experiences of viewers that attended the exhibition, as well as encourage them to explore the complexities that existed between the viewer and the building. In turn, Riverbed helped to overturn the expectations of the audience as the museum-goer, thus blurring the lines between participants and observers. Therefore, visitors were not only at the exhibit but also on it, which consequently helped to invoke a sense of freedom.
All photos: Anders Sune Berg/olafureliasson.net unless otherwise noted