Olafur Eliasson
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A poetic and beautiful installation at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

For his first time exhibiting at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, Olafur Eliasson presents 3 ambitious spatial installations within the architectural context of the museum. Among these installations is Riverbed, an indoor river perfectly imitating nature.

The artificial landscape created by the Danish-Icelandic artist is breathtaking. Rocks cover the floor of a large room, letting a small stream of water cross through. Visitors can interact with the Riverbed, wandering freely on the installation. A concept that brings up interesting points in art and architecture.

First, Riverbed questions the whole meaning of what a museum experience should be for the visitors. Here, the relation between the artist, his work, the building and the viewer is pushed further than the regular work of art. The interaction is far more important since the visitors are walking on the installation, becoming part of it.

Which brings us to the second point: Freedom. As said before, the visitors here are completely free to interact with the installation and can go wherever they feel like going. This sensation of freedom is also underlined by the feeling that natural chaos took over the Danish museum, with these grey rocks spread everywhere and this irregular river floating across the room. Here Nature seems to take back what’s hers, pushing the artificial white walls of the museum further away. Yet, these human frontiers are still there, limiting the power of Nature. The apparent freedom is opposed to the confinement of human architecture.

The last point raised by Eliasson and his work is the eternal question of passing time. Of course, the river is an obvious metaphor of time slipping away but the analogy goes a little further here. In Riverbed, it seems like Nature took over human architecture, putting the emphasis on the relativity of our lives, our human time, of what stays and what goes away.

In the end, Olafur Eliasson achieves creating interactivity between his work, the architectural constraints of the museum and the viewer in a poetic and beautiful way. Riverbed reminds us of what art should be: a bridge between the artist and the people.