Ólafur Elíasson

Pedestrian vibes study, 2005 
Polymer gravure
16 prints, each 31 x 42 cm 

Ólafur Elíasson (1967 Copenhagen, DK) explores movement, light and colour in his multidisciplinary works. Eliasson’s artistic practice encourages viewers to shape their own reality, including in an age of accelerated climate change, a topic to which the artist has been drawing attention since the turn of the century. In and around his exhibitions and artworks, Elíasson often appeals to viewers to use all their senses, particularly when it comes to his light and water installations, which may also incorporate variations in air humidity and temperature.   

Some of his artworks recreate natural phenomena: a waterfall, a rainbow, a sandstorm, or a sunset seen through the haze. These installations invite viewers to reflect on the notion of “constructed nature” at a time when few if any natural habitats on Earth remain untouched by human influence. Eliasson’s work is generally research-based, often involving close collaboration with scientists working in fields ranging from geology and the philosophy of science to cognition and communication.  

Pedestrian Vibes Study experimentally documents the artist’s movements when swinging a simple lamp through the air. The traces of light depict a reality that cannot be perceived the same way in the moment of their creation, a reality in which light takes on a life of its own. This “light graffiti” pre-empts later images made using Elíasson’s “Little Sun”, a solar LED lamp that he began to develop in 2012. His aim at the time: to get clean, affordable light to the 1.2 billion people then estimated to be without electricity worldwide.  

© Ólafur Elíasson