Tuesday, December 21, 2010

GREEN EYED MONSTER - Olafur Eliassons's 'The Weather Project'

The weather project was installed at the London's Tate Modern in 2003 as part of the popular Unilever series. The installation filled the open space of the gallery's Turbine Hall.

Eliasson used humidifiers to create a fine mist in the air via a mixture of sugar and water, as well as a semi-circular disc made up of hundreds of monochromatic lamps which radiated single frequency yellow light. The ceiling of the hall was covered with a huge mirror, in which visitors could see themselves as tiny black shadows against a mass of orange light. Many visitors responded to this exhibition by lying on their backs and waving their hands and legs. The work reportedly attracted two million visitors, many of whom were repeat customers



An open letter to Olafur Eliasson

Dear Olafur,
No matter your opinions on art installations, on entering a room filled with warm light emitting from a giant sun-like object it's very hard to not feel in awe. Especially when it's influencing a huge crowd to lay down and bathe under it. When joining in you realise that it is a mirrored ceiling and a half sun reflecting, rather than spoil the mystery it adds to it.
I have never seen anything quite as jaw dropping in my life, I would see people enter the turbine hall with worried expressions of day to day issues and then leave at the end of their visit with angelic expressions with a weight lifted from their shoulders.

In this installation, The Weather Project, representations of the sun and sky dominate the expanse of the Turbine Hall. A fine mist permeates the space, as if creeping in from the environment outside. Throughout the day, the mist accumulates into faint, cloud-like formations, before dissipating across the space. A glance overhead, to see where the mist might escape, reveals that the ceiling of the Turbine Hall has disappeared, replaced by a reflection of the space below. At the far end of the hall is a giant semi-circular form made up of hundreds of mono-frequency lamps. The arc repeated in the mirror overhead produces a sphere of dazzling radiance linking the real space with the reflection. Generally used in street lighting, mono-frequency lamps emit light at such a narrow frequency that colours other than yellow and black are invisible, thus transforming the visual field around the sun into a vast duotone landscape.
The look and feel that one gets from the light, air and sound of the piece creates that couple of seconds that one can experience at the most perfect sunset; only this sunset can last for 9 hours a day...better than nature?
It is not too impossible to say that 'weather' as a focus is close to the hearts and minds of the British People but bravo Mr. Eliassons!

Kind Regards
Stephen Nuttall.

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