At the heart of the first major survey of the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s work in China stands a new large-scale, site specific installation called The Open Pyramid. The exhibition brings together installations, sculptures, paintings, drawings, and film from the artist’s career, but it is the new work on an architectural scale that stands out.The installation responds to the cavernous interior of the Long Museum, designed by Chinese architect Atelier Deshaus, which is much like the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London where the artist exhibited his famous work Weather Project in 2003. The 65-foot tall pyramid is unapologetically clamped to the concrete walls of the gallery and inside large mirrored surfaces force the visitor to contemplate their presence in the space as they appear in its reflections.
“I wanted to amplify the feeling of the cavernous museum galleries by installing artworks that invite visitors to look inwards, to question how their senses work, and dream up utopias for everyday life,” says the artist. “Reality is what we make it to be – it is what we see, sense, think, feel, and do. It is also what things, artworks, spaces, and cities do to us. Art challenges our perspective on the world, turns it upside down, or suggests alternative views – I hope visitors to the exhibition will be inspired to undertake such enquiries. I see the questioning of what is as an opportunity. It makes that which we take for granted negotiable, open to change.”