Why did Olafur Eliasson try to recreate the sun in a museum?

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London

About the Weather Project

Olafur Eliasson has created a gigantic installation which in 2003 took over all space in Tate Modern, London. The artwork, a sun rising out of a mist was bound to keep any visitor in awe. In this project named The Weather Project, the Scandinavian artist recreated the sun and the sky to occupy the Turbine Hall. The whole space was covered with a fine mist that seeps into the whole space like it was coming from the outside space. Looking ahead to see if the mist escapes into the outer space, visitors saw in place of the ceiling, a replica of the space below – like a mirror. There were 200 low-sodium mono-frequency lamps at the extreme end of the hall as well. Mono-frequency lamps are mostly used in street lights and the frequency at which they emit light is so low that any other color besides black and yellow are invisible. These lamps, therefore, change the view and landscape of the environment into one with two tones.

The idea was conceived when Eliasson was in London. It was on a warm day even though it snowed the previous day and people were talking about global warming. The artist also talked about the weather being a dynamic element. “You will see clouds today that you will never see again.” Eliasson said he wanted to capture that.

The meaning of the Weather Project

This artwork was not created to create an illusion. The idea was to make viewers understand the artist’s creation to the tiniest details. The Weather Project showcased a thorough mastery of the components of the universe, although the work was a kind of tease in itself which poked fun at our understanding of the elements of weather. Imagine having a sun that is not hot and a sky that ends somewhere. The location of this work, the Turbine Hall, gave a hum which when combined with viewing Eliasson’s creation brought viewers to be a part of the place. It gave a sense of close encounter. Also, a red glow around the sphere was quite similar to the planet Mars.

The Weather Project tried to give viewers an illusion of being close to the sun within the clouds but the reality is that a huge semi-circle was hung from a mirrored ceiling which the reflection made look like a full circle. The replica of the space below which could be seen in the ceiling was as a result of the mirrors on the ceiling. The audience made the effects complete as some adults and children were often seen lying down on their backs, staring at the ceiling and making different gestures so they can watch their reflections.

Photos

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Dan Chung / Guardian

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London

Olafur Eliasson - The Weather Project, 2003, Tate Modern, London
Olafur EliassonThe Weather Project, 2003, Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, and scaffolding, 26.7×22.3×155.4m, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London
Photo: Olafur Eliasson / Tate, London

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