Three people underneath an Olafur Elaisson video installation.
Courtesy the artist; Neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles

Olafur Elaisson’s Latest Exhibition Offers a Hopeful Vision of the Future

By Aileen Kwun
January 18, 2020
1 minute read

A fascination with science and nature defines the many avenues of creative work by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Elaisson, whose large-scale installations are often visceral, atmospheric experiences that prod our perspective of—and connection to—the natural world. Where a painter uses canvas and color, Eliasson invokes artificial fog, an indoor simulation of the sun, man-made waterfalls, and color-bombed rivers that have been secretly dyed fluorescent green in cities across the world. Socially and environmentally oriented, he also runs a nonprofit for solar-power energy, and was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations last fall. In his latest solo exhibition, “Symbiotic Seeing,” on view through March 22 at Kunsthaus Zurich, Eliasson once again urges us to be aware of our place in the world, highlighting the relationship between humans and non-humans coexisting on the same planet. It’s art made for our times, to say the least. Though the source material may be bleak, Eliasson’s attitude and message has always remained optimistic: “If our vision of the future doesn’t have an element of hope,” he says, “we are less likely to do something.”