Olafur Eliasson is an Icelandic-Dutch installation artist, born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1967. His work often includes elemental materials such as light, water, and air, and is often large-scale and immerses the viewer.
In 1995 he established Studio Olafur Eliasson in Berlin, a project for spatial research. The studio involves around 90 people, including architects, technicians, art historians and archivists, and they all work closely with Eliasson to experiment and develop artworks, exhibitions, and architectural projects. With this studio, Eliasson completed his Take Your Time series.
Take Your Time showcases fifteen years of Eliasson’s colourful, eccentric, immersive, and experimental installations. The art makes the viewer consider their spatial awareness, their sense of self and their engagement with the world and nature.
Eliasson’s work is atmospheric, beautiful and provides a new, exciting perspective on the 3-D space in which we live.
However, the work of his which excites me most is “Your Waste Of Time” (2006). This artwork featured merely several blocks of ice from Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Iceland. They were exhibited in a refrigerated room in the neugerriemschneider gallery in Berlin.
One of the main themes here is time as a concept. These ice fragments are estimated to have been formed in around 1200 AD, making them over 800 years old. By exhibiting these chunks of ice, Eliasson is literally exhibiting time. It’s an exhibition of the vastness of nature’s timescale, yet simultaneously the fragility of nature. It is a quite literal representation of how human involvement can undo 800 years of a glacier’s progress in a matter of months – merely a blip in the lifetime of a glacier.
This piece of Eliasson’s is an inspiring example of how artists can candidly express their dismay or uneasiness with the rate at which we are decimating the natural world. His works have presence; they force the viewer to really get amongst the artwork and it envelops them.