03 June 2009

Olafur Eliasson: Take Your Time

We had an opportunity to take a docent-led tour of this exhibit by the Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. A conceptual artist, he explores how art audiences participate in the aesthetic experience, and the installations he designs target all the senses. There's a wall of reindeer moss (very fragrant--even pungent); a whirring fan that seems to track its observers; a wall of volcanic tile shingles that begs to be touched. Eliasson seems to have a strong interest in kaleidoscopes--a couple of installations give you the impression of being inside one.

I most appreciated, though, installations that appealed to the visual sense; especially a round room suffused with color (the colors change every 40 seconds). Another striking exhibit is a wall of mist installed in a dark room; the light shining on the mist creates a gorgeous rainbow. And if you go around to the back of the installation, there's no rainbow, but you feel exactly as if you were standing behind a waterfall.

Which you are.

It's really quite a wonderful exhibit, worth multiple visits. I am not sure when I last enjoyed an MCA Chicago exhibit so much--probably it was Massive Change, a few years ago.

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