1967 · Denmark
Olafur Eliasson is a conceptual artist whose work explores ideas of perception and reality through the use of light, space and sculpture. He utilises elements of the environment to create immersive installations which make the audience aware of their sense of being. A true multidisciplinary artist, his work spans installation, public projects, film,photography, and painting.
Born in Copenhagen in 1967 to Icelandic parents, Eliasson studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and in 1995 he moved to Berlin where he founded Studio Olafur Eliasson. He was a professor at Berlin University of the Arts from 2009-2014, and he currently lives and works in both Copenhagen and Berlin.
Eliasson uses his work to present the idea that our sense of reality is subjective and can be “negotiated and changed”. He uses simple, elemental tools and visual trickery to create immersive and sensory experiences, such as his use of fog and mono frequency light in Din Blinde Passager (2010). A dedicated climate activist, he has used works such as Ice Watch (2014) and the The Glacier Melt Series (1999-2019) to encourage public action on climate change. His installations such as Riverbed (2014) aimed to connect the audience directly with nature and natural phenomena, and encourage active participation - a key theme in his work. The piece recreated a river scene within the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and visitors were invited to climb upon the installation and immerse themselves in the space.
Eliasson gained international recognition in 2003 with his large-scale installation The Weather Project at the Tate Modern gallery in London, and held a retrospective there in 2019. He has exhibited across the globe, and is currently showing at the Guggenheim Bilbao and Kunsthaus Zürich.