Life

Olafur Eliasson
Riehen, Switzerland

The Danish artist invites spectators to reflect on the existing connections between nature and culture ‘from a broad, biocentric perspective’

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Photos: © Mark Niedermann

Olafur Eliasson (Copenhagen, 1967) removed the glass facade from the iconic Fondation Beyeler building of Renzo Piano, blurring the physical boundaries between interior and exterior and bringing museum and surrounding park together twenty-four hours a day. Visitors walk on timber walkways through the oneiric aquatic landscape, which fills the halls of the Fondation Beyeler with bright green water and plants like water lilies, shellflowers, ferns, and more.

Open night and day, with neither doors nor windows limiting access, ‘Life’ changes its bright appearance in daylight to a fluorescent glow at night thanks to a combination of UV lights and uranine dye. The exhibition presents a model for future landscape, and is set out as a unique aesthetic experience. ‘Life’ comes without a didactic or explanatory text, letting visitors make an intuitive reading of the artwork shaped by their own perception, through the different smells and sounds in the environment.

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