Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mark Your Calendar: Olafur Eliasson at SFMOMA Through February 24

Yesterday was Nick's birthday and Austin was still on winter break from school, so we all played hookie and spent the afternoon at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which is having the most amazing exhibition right now featuring the work of Danish/Icelandic conceptual artist Olafur Eliasson.

Photo montage from Greg.org

Eliasson is known for his mindbending multimedia and multisensory work, which employs sculpture, photography, geometry, and science and jolts viewers out of their normal, passive interaction with art by tweaking the temperature, moisture level, color, illumination, and even the scent of his exhibit spaces.

Unfortunately, photography isn't allowed inside the museum, and the watchful stare of several security guards was enough to keep my camera tucked safely in my purse. And though there are a few pictures of the Eliasson exhibit on the museum website, they don't really do his creations justice. Happily, a quick flickr search turned up photosets from several intrepid SFMOMA visitors.

Take a look:

Photo by mybluemuse

In the museum's rotunda, you're greeted by Ventilator, a whirring fan suspended from a cable and swinging low enough overhead to make you instinctively duck. It's a fitting introduction to the Eliasson exhibit, which is all about interactivity -- as well as placing visitors outside of their physical comfort zone.

Photo by aqui-ali

Photo by Stellae et Luna

The One-Way Color Tunnel is a stunning kaleidescope in the form of an enclosed bridge suspended high above the entrance rotunda.

Photo by solupine

Beauty consists of streams of mist and a prismatic light show, both of which rain down on visitors.

Photo by daniel.gene

The Waterfall Series is comprised of 50 color-filtered waterfall prints, each unique and yet all of a piece.

Photo by Cynner_SF

The 360 Degree Room for All Colours cycles through the entire color spectrum, with observers' silhouettes becoming part of the visual experience.

Photo by aqui-ali

In Notion Motion, raised floorboards are employed like piano keys and image prompts, creating both musical notes and projected waves when they're stepped on.

Photos by m.a.r.c.

The image-refracting facets of Multiple Grotto create a kaleidoscopic view of its own bisecting angles.

Photo by Paolo L

Your Mobile Expectations is a space-age vehicle constructed of steel and ice, housed in a walk-in freezer.

Photo from Wired

Photo by Jared Zimmerman

The Model Room showcases small-scale models and prototypes of Eliasson's installations as well as modestly sized creations, such as the faceted light fixture above. It's a fascinating glimpse into the artist's mind at work -- not to mention a collection of breathtaking geometric objects.

SFMOMA's Olafur Eliasson show runs through February 24, after which it will tour various museums around the country. If you're in the area, move earth and sea to catch it before it's gone.

And whether you're in the area or not, the exhaustive and beautiful exhibit catalog, Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson ($50), would be a worthy addition to your bookshelf or coffee table.


suzanne cabrera said...

Thanks so much for compiling all these photos! Just yesterday I saw an advertisement for the exhibit in a magazine I was reading and was wishing I lived near San Francisco rather than completely across the country!

I saw an Eliasson exhibit at the Tate Modern a few years ago and have been a huge fan since.

Glad you were able to take in this experience!

acaligurl said...

i am so happy to have found your blog (via hostess with mostess) i am going to take my daughter to the exhibit. thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I fell in love with Eliasson when I saw some of his work in Oslo. That exhibit was so much fun.
I've been so out of the loop about what's showing in the museums around here...so thanks for the heads up! I MUST catch this before it leaves.

Anonymous said...

There's also a web feature on SFMOMA's site about the show that includes some videos of Eliasson talking about his work and others from his studio, as well as a place for visitors to post their own comments and reactions to the pieces. (See the "Share your experience" link at the bottom of the web page: www.sfmoma.org/eliasson)


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