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Olafur Eliasson


20.8.2014 - 11.1.2015

Olafur Eliasson's take on Louisiana is radical, fascinating and unique. The central work in the first solo exhibition at the museum by the Danish-Icelandic artist is a huge, sitespecific project that reverses the relation between nature and art.

The transitions between inside and outside, culture and staged nature, become fluid and transitory – and the progress of the visitor through the museum becomes a central issue. The exhibition consists of three sections that each thematize the encounter between Eliasson’s art and Louisiana as a place. Transforming the entire South Wing into a rocky landscape, Riverbed, Eliasson focuses on inhabiting space in a new way and inserts new patterns of movement into the museum.

The exhibition is supported by Ny Carlsbergfondet and Realdania and also Kvadrat.


In this interview with Louisiana Channel artist Olafur Eliasson shares his intriguing thoughts behind the installation. "The currency of trust” is the fundament on which ‘Riverbed’ is built - an installation that, according to Eliasson, bears resemblance to both the contemplative power of a Japanese garden as well as of ancient Pompeii after its destruction.

About the exhibition

Eliasson’s exhibition at Louisiana is site-specific, engaging with the museum’s unique identity. The exhibition consists of three spatial sections that each thematize the encounter between Eliasson’s art and Louisiana as a place, physically, architecturally and institutionally. The focus on the visitor and bodily movement through space is where Louisiana’s identity as a place and Eliasson’s practice as an artist intersect.


The central work in the exhibition, Riverbed (2014), which is made specifically for the museum, is based on the unique connection between nature, architecture and art that characterizes Louisiana. Eliasson’s work transforms the place in one sweeping artistic move: a rocky riverbed taking up the museum’s entire South Wing.

A surface of rocks covers the floors as the bed for a stream of water winding through the galleries. Eliasson’s work is about walking, but it also touches on more fundamental questions about how the architectural and institutional framework sets up a playing field for the users. What kind of behaviour does the museum invite and what conventions and habits do we associate with visiting a museum? What types of social encounters can happen at a museum like Louisiana? The work operates on this general level, simply in the way its scale transforms the existing space into an entirely different space and thus implicitly invites a different kind of behaviour.

3 video works

This sculptural approach to the body’s movement in space is also at the heart of three recent film works presented in The Hall Gallery. In Movement microscope (2011) we follow a group of dancers in Olafur Eliasson’s studio on what is otherwise an ordinary working day. In Your embodied garden (2013) Eliasson explores a Chinese garden in Suzhou through the minimal movements of the choreographer Steen Koerner. In Innen Stadt Aussen (2010) we get a double portrait of Berlin in motion.

Video still fra Movement microscope, 2011



Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
© 2003 Olafur Eliasson

Video still fra Your embodied garden, 2013.



Courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton
© 2013 Olafur Eliasson 

Model room

The third station of the exhibition is Model room (2003), a key work in Eliasson’s production that is always adapted to the specific exhibition situation. Here, Eliasson shows around 400 geometric models used in developing artworks. The installation transforms the Jorn Gallery into a workspace, a curated window into Eliasson’s laboratory, revealing the unbroken flow between experiment, process and finished work that distinguishes Eliasson’s method as an artist.

Contact is content

A small library containing books by and about Olafur Eliasson has been installed in the museum’s Panorama Room, which is accessible from the  farthest end of the Riverbed installation. On view here is the newly published "Contact is content" featuring landscape photographs taken by Eliasson in Iceland from 1986 to 2013.


"Not just a very good idea - but something genuinely beautiful." This Louisiana Channel video follows the acclaimed writers Sjón, James McBride and Daniel Kehlmann, as they take a tour through the 'Riverbed' installation in the South Wing. "It’s like something in a dream, when you enter a room. Something is not right, but familiar", says Sjón .