2.33. Artist: Olafur Eliasson

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.

Who/what is it?

Who are they?

Some autobiographical details (only a few if relevant)

How did you find them?

What is their work?

What art genres does it involve or suggest?

What ideas are present?

How are they communicated?

What senses does it engage?

What media is used?

What processes?

How is it presented?

What is the effect of this?

What about their work inspires you?

What elements attracted you to it?

How is it relevant to you?

Do the ideas resonate with your own?

How does it inform you?

What have you learned from it?

What are you going to do in response?

How valuable is their inspiration?


Room For One Colour (1997), in which mono-frequency bulbs turn the space entirely yellow

Space Reversal (2007), where mirrors reflect each other to create an infinity of reflections
Negative Quasi Brick Wall (2003) in which stainless steel ‘bricks’ are arranged to create a honeycomb-like structure
Mirror Door – “User” “Spectator”, and “Visitor”
1 m^3 Light (1999), where lights are arranged to illuminate a cube shape in a room filled with fog
360 degrees room for all colours (2002), in which viewers are immersed in a panoramic, colour-changing round room
The colours constantly change, bathing the viewer in the entire colour spectrum



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.




Published by William Fowler

Hello! I'm studying Art and English Literature at the University of Reading, and I'm currently working with art films to investigate philosophical ideas of the 'real.' As always, my aim is to create pieces of art that are more than the sum of their parts.

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