Art: Olafur Eliasson – In Real Life

If you live in London you would not have been able to miss all the adverts that have popped up in train stations, on the tube and buses for Olafur Eliasson In Real Life at Tate Modern showing until 5 January 2020.

The Exhibition

The exhibition brings together 40 works of art made between 1990 and today. The greatest thing about his art is how immersive the installations are. He has also created sculptures, photography and paintings, but I personally think his greatest works was when he used science/geometry to create them. Similar to Phyllida Barlow his works rely on the individual’s experience and that fundamentally is required to add meanings to his pieces, it is encouraged that you use your senses! There was no fixed route through the exhibition (adding to the chaos) but there is a “suggested route” that in the exhibit guide.

A big tip from me is that you should wait (if you can) until after the Summer Holidays as I tried to visit as schoolchildren were just breaking up…I greatly regretted this decision as the exhibition was swarming with children. I don’t have an issue with children but when mixed with interactive art it was absolute mayhem.

There are a lot of pieces dotted around the Tate Modern itself, don’t miss out on Waterfall 2019 that is placed outside the Blavatnik Building entrance.  One of my favourites was the Stardust Particle 2014 which you will notice just outside the entrance of the exhibition. Due to the popularity of the exhibit, I would recommend visitors with the flexibility to either go very early in the morning or later in the evening. For those that do it for the “gram”; this is one of the most instagrammable exhibitions I have been to this year!

Best Immersive Experiences

  • Din blinde passager (Your blind passenger) 2010 – this is the largest immersive experience in the exhibition. It is essentially a 39m long corridor filled with fog. For those who may be claustrophobic may not enjoy this as you will only be able to see 1.5m, if not less, ahead of you. The exhibit is made from water-soluble fog containing non-toxic polyols and makes it smell like banana?! but should be noted that the air feels heavy. Whilst you walk along the corridor the ceiling lights change colour, changing from orange to pink to blue; very surreal. It was a very odd experience but I enjoyed it so much I did it twice.
  • Big Bang Fountain 2014 – unfortunately, I was unable to take a photo of this exhibit because of the flashing lights. For those that are afraid of the dark, this one is not for you and word of warning – it is hard to find the exit! This a particularly popular exhibit and there was a very long queue to enter this small room, but I do not think it should be missed!
  • Your spiral view 2002 – This is a tunnel of mirrors, but was one of my favourite pieces because of the different reflections on various shards of the mirrors as you walk through. It was a little disorientating at first because I couldn’t work out how everything was reflected. Though a beautiful piece of work and reminded me of one of my favourite artist’s Lee Bul.

Other notable pieces

My other favourite pieces of Olafur Eliasson were how he was able to manipulate light.

  • Beauty 1993 – I nearly missed this room as you have to turn right as you enter the corridor from the room where there is the Moss Wall 1994, however, definitely go back. Admittedly, it is a mist with a projected light onto it but it is completely mesmerising and beautiful.
  • Eine Beschreibung einer Reflexion (A description of a reflection) 1995 – you will have plenty of time to enjoy this piece of art as you wait in line to see the Big Bang Fountain 2014 (see above). This one baffled me the most as I was unable to work out how a light that was beamed onto a piece of rock and projected onto a circular board creating wonderfully mystical shapes.

The exhibit reflected Eliasson’s art interests in nature, geometry and how as humans we perceive and interact with the world. It particular, it highlighted his view on climate change, as reflected in all the goodies in the shop and Little Sun in the exhibit. The exhibition really spoke to the environmentalist in me, his pieces of art were a great marriage of art, science and the environment. 5 out of 5 pineapples! 

Have you visited the exhibition or seen any of his pieces of art before? As always, I would love to hear from you!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x