Thursday 19 March ARKEN Museum of Modern Art in Denmark awarded the ARKEN Prize at DKK 100,000 to one of the most significant and successful artists on the international art scene: Danish-Icelandic Olafur Eliasson. Eliasson was awarded the prize for his ability to produce art that engage the senses and involve us actively in the works.
Olafur Eliasson has recreated the sun at Tate Modern in London, built waterfalls in New York’s Hudson River and encouraged the citizens of Copenhagen to play with white Lego blocks on the City Hall Square. Few artists have as he has challenged and expanded the boundaries of the art institution and the audience’s use of art in a way that resounds far beyond a narrow inner circle of art aficionados. He invites everyone to participate in and help create meaning in his art. These are some of the reasons why he was awarded this year’s ARKEN Prize.
– Olafur Eliasson places contemporary art on the agenda in the wider public, insisting that art can make a difference in the social and mental space, says ARKEN’s director Christian Gether on the choice of Eliasson.
Olafur Eliasson’s art revolves around nature and science. With his artworks, he plays with our perception of nature, questioning our mental and sensuous experience of reality.
Eliasson’s artistic production finds itself in a borderland between natural science and aesthetics. He essays to intensify the sensuous experience of the artwork. In continuation of the so-called light- and space art, prominent in 1970s USA, he often takes as his point of departure the antithetical relationship between culture and nature, coupling the two.
Eliasson is interested in how we people help produce reality. He explores how we sense and how we physically and mentally orientate ourselves in our environment.
In his most recent work, The New York City Waterfalls (2008), Eliasson creates a temporary waterfall in New York’s Hudson River. Thus an artificial construction of nature is given a place in the city. The city dwellers are forced to revalue the experience of the cityscapes they spend their everyday lives in.
In encountering Eliasson’s art the viewer is encouraged to move directly into the work and have an attitude towards it. The viewer takes centre stage and becomes instrumental in the way the work creates meaning.
Jesper Just and Lilibeth Cuenca were both awarded the ARKEN Travel Grant...