The career of artist Olafur Eliasson (Copenhagen, 1967) is one of the most consolidated in today's artistic panorama. Despite his age, the Danish artist realises projects for the most important museums in the world and his work is exhibited in numerous countries. His productions incorporate scientific principles to create certain effects that encompass natural elements such as light, water, ice and lava. Eliasson has a penchant for landscape and the environment, architecture and utopian philosophies; therefore, he frequently creates sculptures and installations, some large-scale, that are located in public spaces.
For this exhibition in the Palacio de Cristal, Eliasson explores the glass and iron architecture in these types of pavilions, created initially as greenhouses, conservatories and botanical museums. The first reference of these structures is the pavilion built by Sir Joseph Paxton for the Universal Exhibition in London in 1851, and later they become popularised and used for other ends, one example being the famous Galleries Larayette department store in Paris.
This architectural exploration is also joined by his inspiration for the the Biosphere II experiment, carried out by a group of scientists during the Eighties and the beginning of the Nineties in Arizona, USA. The aim was to construct an enormous greenhouse as an artificial environment for recreating organic life and drawing conclusions on the habitats on other planets. After years of work, between 1991 and 1993 they obtained ecological stability as the structure was sealed with eight researchers living inside.
Inside the Palacio de Cristal Eliasson creates an artificial garden via eight works that join organic and artificial elements to reproduce seemingly self-sufficient microcosms. Each of the works exhibited refer to elements present in society and look at the inversion of perspective - the viewer becomes an object rather than most commonly a subject in works. As a result, the first receives the experience that creates the second - this change of mentality is what Eliasson offers viewers of his work.
Museo Reina Sofía Publications