Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life

A sensory spectacle

Olafur Eliasson does epic like few others.

Rosemary Waugh, Time Out London.

Olafur Eliasson is no stranger to Tate Modern. His 2003 installation, The Weather Project, famously made the sun shine on the gallery’s Turbine Hall and drew more than two million visitors. Now, the Danish-Icelandic artist returns with his first major UK retrospective.

In Real Life explores Eliasson’s fascination and connections with society and the environment through a series of larger-than-life installations. Known for his experimental approach using the elements, light, and temperature, this Olafur Eliasson exhibition – developed along with his 130-strong team in Berlin – is a truly immersive experience. And guests can even communicate with the team, Studio Olafur Eliasson, via a once-a-fortnight live link to Germany.

There’s plenty to delight the senses here. Smell and touch reindeer lichen on the 20-metre Moss Wall, or wander through Your Blind Passenger, a fog-filled walkway that both invites visitors to get lost and discover how far their senses can take them. A large waterfall draws you outside, while the Turbine Hall will house one tonne of white Lego bricks, encouraging guests to build their imagined future cities.

Olafur Eliasson x Tate

In keeping with the environmental theme, Studio Olafur Eliasson has also created a mouth-watering organic and locally sourced vegetarian lunch menu for the gallery’s Terrace bar. In tune with sustainability and seasonality, the dishes reflect the themes that drive the artist’s – and his team’s – work.

In turn, Eliasson’s work is infused with his experiences growing up in Iceland and Denmark. He studied at the prestigious Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts before setting up creative camp in Berlin in the mid 90s. Today, that Berlin studio includes over 100 creative minds – from art historians to architects, chefs to craftspeople.

Alongside spearheading Studio Olafur Eliasson’s inspired installations, the artist has also found time to lead an experimental arts education programme as a Berlin University of the Arts professor. And he co-founded Little Sun, a socially conscious global enterprise that champions sustainable energy through a range of initiatives, including supplying clean energy to communities in need of electricity.

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11 July 2019 - 5 January 2020


Tate Modern