Light, color and Eliasson
By Kwon Mee-yoo
Olafur Eliasson, an artist of light and color, returns to Korea with his new works at the PKM Trinity Gallery in southern Seoul.
He explores the interaction between human perceptual abilities and physical laws through materials such as glass, mirrors, light, water and air.
At his third solo exhibition at the PKM Trinity Gallery, following shows in 2007 and 2009, the artist questions spectators’ perception of “seeing” with relatively smaller works. Still, his works fill the gallery space with light, color and imagination.
The works on display at “Your Uncertain Shadow” vary from watercolor and glass to light objects and film. However, Eliasson was not to be bound in dividing genres.
“I am not interested in categorizing what is real and what is fake. For me, reality is relative. Our perception of surroundings could change reality,” he said at a press preview of the exhibition last week.
“Afterimage Star” uses eight color spotlights and creates accidental colors, while “Infinite Color Double Polyhedron Lamp” is composed of color-stained glass panels in the shape of pentagons and triangles, projecting unique patterns on the walls and ceiling.
Color spectrum painting “Emergent Fade-Color Experiment No. 48” is Eliasson’s attempt to express light on canvas. He used pigments representing the full color spectrum of sunlight and painted them on a circle with a hole in the center. The result looks like a circular rainbow.
“It might look like an abstract painting, but for me, this is sunlight,” Eliasson said.
He also emphasized the interaction between his works and the viewers. “I create half of the work and the other half is made by the viewers,” he said.
“Your Uncertain Shadow” is a playful interpretation of shadow play. There is a screen and five light bulbs — four in yellow and one in blue. This creates five shadows, which overlap, as spectators walk into the exhibit.
“When people come in here, they reorganize their body according to the shadows,” the artist said. “They should feel free to dance here.”
He pointed out that the bluish light is the same as the average outdoor daylight with a color temperature of 5,700K and the orange one is ordinary domestic light, at around 2,000K.
“If seen independently, the lights would be just gray, but when next to each other the colors look blue or yellow. This is the context of color,” he said.
“Lava Kaleidoscope” is made up of yellow-colored glass pieces and lava rocks he obtained from Iceland’s volcanic eruption in 2010. It might look like a part of a machine, but what is inside is an illusion created by patterns and reflections.
Born in Copenhagen and growing up in Denmark and Iceland, Eliasson currently resides in Berlin.
He is known for larger works such as “The Weather Project” (2003) at Britain’s Tate Modern, which set up a giant artificial sun in a 35-meter-high hall, and “Your Rainbow Panorama” (2011) at ARoS Art Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, which allows viewers to see the city through colored-glasses of an observatory.
The exhibition runs through May 31. For more information, call (02) 515-9496.