Olafur Eliasson fills the Guggenheim with colour and sensations

The Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson arrives at the Guggenheim Bilbao museum, in collaboration with Iberdrola, with a multimedia exhibition in which he encourages the viewer to reflect on their understanding and perception of the physical world around us.

With around thirty works — some of the most important ones already on display and other new pieces created for the occasion — the exhibition Olafur Eliasson. In real life draws our attention to some of the most urgent issues of today through pieces created between 1990 and 2020 — sculptures, photographs, paintings and installations that play with reflections and colour — that question the way we perceive and function in our surroundings.

Using materials including moss, water, ice from glaciers, fog, light and reflective metals, Eliasson shows his deep commitment to society and the environment in an exhibition that can be visited from 14 February to 21 June 2020.

Eliasson's art comes from his interest in perception, movement, physical experience and sensations. He shows his concern for nature, inspired by the time he has spent in Iceland, his parents' country of origin and a country he has resided in. His Berlin studio, Studio Olafur Eliasson, is a workspace, but also one for meeting and dialogue, which brings together a varied team of experienced craftsmen, architects, archivists, researchers, administrators, chefs, programmers, art historians and specialised technicians.

In 1999, the artist, who is very aware of climate change, captured 30 Icelandic glaciers in a series of photographs he repeated twenty years later, illustrating the impact of climate change on them.

Outside the museum, an over 11-metre-tall waterfall made with scaffolding and a series of pumps, draws the viewer's attention to this piece of nature built in an urban environment. The waterfall pours its waters into the pond behind, reproducing the same sounds and the appearance of a waterfall in the middle of nature.

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But the Scandinavian's work extends beyond art to include public involvement, architectural projects and activism. Convinced that art can have a powerful impact on the world beyond the museum, Eliasson has created solar lamps for communities without electricity, he has designed artistic workshops for refugees and asylum seekers and has created artistic installations to raise awareness about the climate emergency. In October 2019 he was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program.