Our Favourite Installations by Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson is a Danish artist born in 1967. He grew up in Iceland, a country that strongly influenced his aesthetics. After studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, he moved to Berlin where he founded the “Studio Olafur Eliasson” that, today, counts a team of about 90 craftsmen, specialized technicians, architects, archivists, administrators, programmers, art historians and cooks!

Olafur Eliasson’s work is very diverse and encompasses a variety of media, from sculpture, to painting, video and installation. His creative process is directed by his fascination for perception, motion and relation between nature, architecture and technology. His body of work combines science and technology, and immerges the spectator in a full physical as well as psychological experience.

On top of his many institutional exhibitions, Olafur Eliassion’s art adresses a wider audience through large-scale architectural projects and public interventions.

He represented Denmark for the 50th Venice Biennale and led projects in world-known museums like the Tate Modern and the MoMa.

Artsper has come up with a selection of 10 of our favorite artworks by this extraordinary artist!


spherical space

Inspired by the fascinating relationship between the inside motion and the outside shape of schools of fish, the motionless surface of the work recreates the fluid wave of those submarine creatures. The geodesic lines of the sphere catch the eye of the spectator in a whirlwind of shapes and colors, and his own motion around the room alters his perception of the alignments and triangles of the piece, which creates the illusion of a constantly moving work.


the big fountain

This piece consists in dyed blue water illuminated by strobe light and pumped up before the viewer in quick bursts. The light catches the burst of water at his apex and freezes it for a second before it falls down again. Instead of witnessing the entire trajectory of the water, the spectator only catches a second of it, an apparition of sorts. Additionally, the installation is housed in a dark and circular room which creates maximum contrast with the bursts of blue water.


a bridge from the future

This work reflects the interest of Olafur for the dynamic shapes of spirals and vortexes. It employs a model made by the artist in 2012. “Bridge from the future” recalls the shape of a number of natural phenomenon like the Coriolis effect that determines the direction of weather patterns and hurricanes spin through ocean or even black holes.

{4. CONTACT-2014}


« Contact » is the installation made by Olafur for his exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Foundation. It is quadrant-shape room confronting the viewer with a line of monofrequency light along a curved wall. The two other walls of the room are covered with mirrors, which prolong the visual effect of the piece and create the illusion of being in a completely circular room crossed by a horizon line.


map for unthought thoughts

This work occupies a semicircular room which walls were covered with mirrors in order to give the viewer the impression of being in a completely circular room. At the center of this room, a slowly rotating light projects the shadow of a series of concentric fences. The cast shadow forms a symmetrical and intricate patterns on the walls of the room. When the spectator moves, his perception of the alignment of the fences evolves along with the size of his own cast shadow.


a view becomes a window

« A View Becomes a Window », created for Ivorypress, is an edition of nine unique books. Instead of pages, this leather-bound book is made of tinted glass sheets of different quality and opacity. The glass sheets are hand-blown by German craftsmen –among the last ones on earth able to produce large-scale hand-blown glass. The edges of the sheets are irregular and each bears imperfections due to hand-made production.

Each page catch the light in a unique way, when they are turned, their superposition creates complex reflection effects and the spectator becomes the protagonist of the book’s playful mirror narrative.

{7. WIRBELWERK- 2012}


« Wirbelwerk » is composed of tinted and hand-blown polished metal tubes. Its spiral shape produces a powerful dynamic effect and also recalls vortexes, the phenomenon created by a mass of wind or water spinning around a central cavity or vacuum that sucks whatever it seizes such as hurricane, bathtub drain or the galaxy.

Lit up from the inside, the piece projects a colorful shadow on the walls around and changes with the daylight, like a kaleidoscope.



your disappearing garden

This installation consists of a room filled with pieces of obsidian rocks in the aim of recreating the type of volcano landscapes that Olafur would see during his hikes in the Icelandic highlands when he was young.


feelings arte facts 2

For « Feelings are facts », artifical fogs are released in a gallery space whose dimension have been altered by lowering the ceiling and constructing an inclined floor. Fluorescent lights- red, green, blue- are cast from the ceiling and create new hues of colors when they cross. While walking on a flat surface is effortless, the inclination of the floor makes the visit more unpredictable and forces the spectator to constantly shift his balance.

{10. YELLOW FOG- 1998}

yellow fog

For this piece, fog machines have been installed along with yellow lights under the grating in the ground in front of a building. After dusk, waves of yellow fogs rise at the surface of the building.