IN REAL LIFE, OLAFUR ELIASSON @ TATE MODERN
Having been heavily inspired by Eliasson during my A-level art studies I was thrilled when I found out he was returning to the Tate with an exhibition commenting on the world that surrounds us all and the ever-changing issues it is facing.
In December 2018, Eliasson, alongside Minik Rosing, introduced the start of his exhibiting pieces that surrounded the narrative of In Real Life; setting the stage for the poignant topics that were to follow. Ice watch brought 24 ice blocks from the Nuup Kangerlua fjord in Greenland placing them in front of the world-renowned gallery as a visually obvious and emotionally harrowing understanding of global warming.
Then in July 2019, In Real Life opened. Featuring over 40 works of art dating back to 1990, with one of the soul focuses being an immersion into experiences, as well as gaining an education in his chosen topics.
The exhibition begins with an in-depth look into the experimental work of Eliasson in the Model Room. His quest to find the best materials, forms, and outcomes is a true testament to the level of time spent behind each piece.
It was truly breathtaking.
Throughout the exhibition, the viewer is transported by the senses and invited to experience (in close proximity) interpretations of nature. Perhaps the best example of this is Din blinde passager (Your blind passage) 2019, which is a 39m tunnel filled with a non-toxic mist that mimics fog. You can only see around 1.5m in front of you as you venture through the void.
It was a pleasure to see so many younger children enjoying an exhibition, the playful nature of so many of Eliasson’s pieces truly made it a day out for the whole family. Works like In Real Life, 2019 and Your uncertain shadow (colour), 2010 are enticing on both a visual and a conceptual level, coupled with their interactive form they create universal pieces of art.
But perhaps the most impressive part of the exhibition was the finale, The Expanded Studio. This snapshot display of Eliasson’s studio represents the level of extensive research and connections that he makes to contextualise his work with culture and social issues. An A-Z of thoughts and feelings towards our changing world adorned the length of this space, provoking emotions and questions from the viewers. Here Eliasson is ultimately visualising all the connects and discoveries he has made on the journey to this exhibition and beyond.
This was by far one of the best exhibitions I have been to in a while. It is a true testament to the incredible power art can have when it comes to addressing pressing issues and I hope that all who visit it (and I really would highly recommend you do) takes away a little something that can help to save our planet.
“Put your hands on the ice, listen to it, smell it, look at it – and witness the ecological changes our world is undergoing.” Olafur Eliasson