This exhibition, says Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, started life as an exploratory collaboration between three different artistic perspectives: the institutional, in the form of the Baroque Belvadore Winter Palace in Vienna; private collections – the city’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) and Buenos Aires’ Juan and Patricia Vergez; and his own science-oriented studio. The result is a fascinating show of the artist’s 'new works made a long time ago', ''Baroque Baroque' which opened on 19 November.
The show – set amid the 16th century grandeur of the Winter Palace – is a meeting of art and world views from two very different eras, suggesting an unstable reality characterised by a constant process of evolution. 'I like Baroque, but I also like the Viennese clarity about Baroque; it’s not just romantic and nostalgic, it’s a very crisp and contemporary interpretation in general here,' Eliasson says. 'The staging of Baroque is actually very much not taking people away into a dream, but saying the dream is actually here in our daily lives. I like it very much because you can be pragmatic and dream at the same time.'
The experience begins at the entrance hall, where the light installation Die Organische und Kristalline Beschreibung (1996) saturates the space with blue and yellow light that diminishes one’s sense of stability. At the staircase leading to the main exhibition hall, the monochromatic Yellow Corridor (1997) provides visitors with an enhanced awareness of the show in front of them.
Among the artworks on the main floor is a 30-metre long mirror traversing the enfilade of the grand rooms. The chief curator of 21er Haus, Mario Codognato, who is behind the show – the Winter Palace’s first contemporary art monograph – says: 'The mirror is the most extraordinary thing that happened in the exhibition, it connected and transformed the entire space and at the same time charged his works with a new energy.' The mirror further disorients the viewers by folding and refolding the complex spaces it produces, it also creates an extra dimension by making them part of the setting among the artworks. To experience merging of reality and illusion at its outmost, go to the Hall of Battle Paintings to see the Wishes Versus Wonders (2015), where a brass ring that is half real, half reflection plays uncanny tricks with the space.
TBA21 has also announced its next collaboration with Eliasson – 'Green Light' – which will be launched next February. The three-month workshop at Augarten will be a response to the current refugee crisis and the precarious processes of displacement and migration.
'Olafur Eliasson: Baroque Baroque' runs until 6 March 2016. For more information, visit Olafur Eliasson's website
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Yoko Choy is the China editor at Wallpaper* magazine, where she has contributed for over a decade. Her work has also been featured in numerous Chinese and international publications. As a creative and communications consultant, Yoko has worked with renowned institutions such as Art Basel and Beijing Design Week, as well as brands such as Hermès and Assouline. With dual bases in Hong Kong and Amsterdam, Yoko is an active participant in design awards judging panels and conferences, where she shares her mission of promoting cross-cultural exchange and translating insights from both the Eastern and Western worlds into a common creative language. Yoko is currently working on several exciting projects, including a sustainable lifestyle concept and a book on Chinese contemporary design.
Bid for Elton John’s watches as he says ‘Goodbye Peachtree Road’ at Christie’s
Our view? Elton John’s watches shimmer with poignancy and taste as the ‘Goodbye Peachtree Road’ auction at Christie’s New York reveals the contents of his Atlanta home
By Caragh McKay Published
OMA/AMO and Prada celebrate 25 years of extraordinary runway sets
Rem Koolhaas unpacks OMA/AMO’s unique creative collaboration with Prada, which has led to some of contemporary fashion’s most striking runway sets
By Vésma Kontere McQuillan Published
Milan Fashion Week A/W 2024: Fendi to No. 21
The very best of Milan Fashion Week A/W 2024, from Fendi’s return to the 1980s to a riff on the ‘bon ton’ by Alessandro Dell’Acqua at No. 21
By Jack Moss Published
Olafur Eliasson inaugurates Azabudai Hills Gallery in Tokyo
Olafur Eliasson marks launch of Azabudai Hills Gallery, in Tokyo’s major new district, with a show of elemental strength
By Danielle Demetriou Published
Olafur Eliasson saturates Palazzo Strozzi in VR, illusion and Renaissance rationality
In ‘Nel Tuo Tempo’, a major show at Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi, Olafur Eliasson bends perceptions of Renaissance architecture through dazzling site-specific installations
By Will Jennings Last updated
Culture, creativity and concrete in Reykjavík
Perfectly located between North America and Europe, Reykjavík has become a cultural pitstop for collectors, attracted by the Icelandic capital's vibrant art scene, emerging gallery spaces, and striking architecture
By Pei-Ru Keh Last updated
Olafur Eliasson’s AR app sees kids speak up for the planet
The Danish-Icelandic artist’s augmented reality Earth Speakr initiative puts children at the core of the climate change discourse
By Harriet Lloyd Smith Last updated
Olafur Eliasson’s climate-centric show takes Tate by storm
The Danish-Icelandic artist’s summerlong Tate Modern takeover begins with far-reaching retrospective and Terrace Bar treats
By Elly Parsons Last updated
Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Ice Watch’ confronts Londoners with the realities of climate change
By Elly Parsons Last updated
Olafur Eliasson as seen in the gallery, studio and real world
By Elly Parsons Published
Olafur Eliasson opens his new satellite studio in Reykjavik to the public
By Elly Parsons Last updated