Olafur Eliasson returns to Tate

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson returns to London's Tate Modern this summer, 16 years after his seminal The Weather Project illuminated the gallery's Turbine Hall.

This time, a survey of the artist's work, stretching almost 30 years back to 1990, will be mounted next door in the gallery's Herzog & de Meuron-designed Blavatnik Building

Olafur Eliasson: In real life will not recreate the hugely influential installation, which saw the hall filled with representations of the sun and sky rendered in light and mist, instead taking in some 30 individual art works, 29 of which have never aired in the UK before.Your Blind Passenger (2010) – an installation where visitors encounter in a long tunnel filled with dense and illuminated fog, will be among the works on show. 

As the exhibition title might suggest, the selection seeks to show how Eliasson's work connects beyond the art world to tackle mammoth issues such as global warming. 

As a "warm up" to the show, the artist told journalists at the Tate yesterday, Ice Watch was installed outside the Thameside museum in London. The work, part of a series, comprised 24 thawing ice blocks collected from a melting ice sheet in Greenland. 

Typical of the artist's work, it, and those to be included in the show rely on sensory experience.

"Olafur’s artworks in general privilege the experiences and encounters that visitors co-create in relation to them, within a shared, negotiated space," his studio told Domus.

The viewer's body becomes the synthesis for many of the pieces, generating a personal response to the work that does not often translate to imagery, curators Mark Godfrey and Emma Lewis reflect. 

"Even the most incredible photograph can’t capture what it feels like to experience an artwork in the flesh – and to see friends, family, strangers around you experience it too,” they told Domus. 

"‘Instagrammability' is definitely not a criterion for creating an artwork in Olafur’s mind. At the same time, Olafur and the studio have generally tried to accept social media as a new way for viewers to engage with and co-produce the work, and we do not see it as diminishing the artworks' ‘aura’," says Eliasson's studio. 

"Still, the unmediated experience of the here and now that the installations offer is what many visitors will find compelling about them – as was the case of Ice Watch, where people came into direct contact with something most of them had only ever read about or seen photographs of – and this has long been one of Olafur’s central preoccupations."

Further bringing the practice into real life, Eliasson will dial in through Skype once a week to give visitors a glimpse into the mechanics of his studio, connecting completed work to ideas currently underway. 

Artwork will spill into the grounds of the Tate, and the Terrace Bar will serve a menu derived from Eliasson's infamous staff lunches, bringing orangic and sustaibale food to the gallery. 

Olafur Eliasson: In real life opens at the Tate Modern on 11 July 2019 and will run until 5 January 2020. 

Olafur Eliasson: In real life
Curated by:
Mark Godrey and Emma Lewis
Tate Modern
Bankside, London, UK, SE1 9TG
Opening dates:
11 July 2019 - 5 January 2020

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