‘In Real Life’ by Olafur Eliasson teaches its audience the art of experience and the consequence of inaction. Within the realms of the museum, Eliasson is exploratory, honest, and has carved his work with emotion. There is a strong emphasis on the global problem of climate change, which is the driving force throughout the exhibition.
There is no fixed route around ‘In Real Life’, encouraging viewers to find themselves in the state of childlike uncertainty. This allows the observer to open their mind to inspiring ideas, but also to have fun. Making our way around the exhibition, our perspective fractures and our senses take over.
Perfect for adults and children alike, yellow lights pave the entrance to the exhibition like a solar road to Oz. The use of yellow is perhaps a nod to Eliasson’s last installation at the Tate Modern in 2003 called The Weather Project (or the sun).
With this in mind, In Real Life automatically feels like a natural continuation from the last time Eliasson’s work graced the Tate. Outside the exhibition, we are confronted with the Stardust Particle, a scientific display that gives you a taste of what is to come.
Eliasson boasts nearly three decades of experience with rooms dedicated to his early work, created while he was still attending The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Pieces in Early Works such as Window Projection and I Grew Up In Solitude and Silence reveal the artist’s early interest in illumination, while Wavemachines, replicates water’s natural movement. Awakening the senses, the optical hypnosis of Eliasson’s cloud-like Moss Wall creeps over the space, giving a comforting feeling to the room.
An overwhelming experience for one of the key senses – sight, Your Blind Passenger brings a claustrophobic feeling that has to be experienced to understand. Restricting the viewer’s visual perception, the long passageway gives no other option than to find other ways to navigate the space. This installation cleverly brings strangers together, using voice as a sense of distance and a sense of togetherness as you make your way through the tunnel. Also playing with sight, Your Uncertain Shadow brings the simplicity of playing with light and shadows, creating a spectacle that has both children and adults fixated on movement.
Eliasson makes climate change tangible, by presenting the problem in a medley of spirals, mirrors, shapes and lights, the Cold Wind Sphere expertly presents optimism from all perspectives with an array of vibrant colours.
For Eliasson, our environment is beautiful, dynamic, factual, scientific but it is also dying. Read his In Real Life Resources, plastered along the expanded studio like a tapestry. A mesmerising display of research and creativity, ‘In Real Life’ emotionally captures the potential of the human mind and body in the race for change.