Riverbed by Olafur Eliasson

Since this summer the Humlebæk-based Louisiana Museum of Modern Art hosts the first solo exhibition of the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The main work on display in the extraordinary museum 30 kilometers away from Copenhagen which was exclusively created by Eliasson features an incredible giant landscape unfolded throughout the South Wing of the museum which he named ‘Riverbed’. Although the radical work hints to grotesqueness in its core, from the moment when we were finally able to see it with our own eyes yesterday, we can only underline what everyone has said before us: walking through the ‘Riverbed’ is truly a tremendous experience. If in the position we highly recommend to visit the work before it closes on the 4th of January. Eliasson’s exhibition questions the meaning and experience of the museum itself, and the complexities of the relationship between the artist, building, and viewer. By exploring the process of inhabiting space, Eliasson focuses the visitor’s attention on the art itself by encouraging the visitor to explore the landscape. Thus, the visitor is both at the exhibit and actually on it: living the artist’s mantra Contact is Content.

By crafting a landscape, the artist evokes a primal sense of freedom. Avoiding traditional expectations of behavior and thought associated with museums, Eliasson strips away superficial information through the emptiness of the landscape. There is nothing on the walls, and there is no expected way to act within or experience the space, allowing for freedom of reflection, thought, sensory experience, and sense of self. Although completely different in form, reminding strongly of the extraordinary ‘Big Air Package‘ by Christo, which was one of our favorite aesthetic experiences last year.

Other work by Eliasson in the museum, surrounded by the thrilling permanent collection of the Louisiana (with work by names like Francis Bacon, Alberto Giacometti, Asger Jorn and tremendous works by Shilpa Gupta, amongst many others) and within the highly impressive building is a set of videos; Your Embodied Garden, Movement Microscope, and Innen Stadt Aussen, all emphasizing movement, while the extraordinary ‘Model Room’ which was created by the artist in 2003, provides an unique insight into Eliasson’s active mind and artistic process.

Make also sure to see the extensive exhibition of work by the German painter Paula Modersohn-Becker which is also amazing and runs a little longer, until the 6th of April.

Photography by Joachim Baan.

For all information see here.