Saturday, May 03, 2008

Eliasson's movie set

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to walk into a black and white movie - not just star in one, but to actually step into a monochromatic world - then you have to check out Olafur Eliasson's Room for one colour, on view at the MoMA as part of its exhibit of the artist's work, "Take Your Time." (The exhibition also stretches to its sister institution, P.S.1 in Queens, but I've only seen the Midtown half so far.) Eliasson is having something of a moment in the sun this year in New York, as he has also been commissioned to design this year's version of The Gates: New York City Waterfalls, debuting mid-July in the East River and running through mid-October. His work often focuses on how we perceive things, the social aspect of art viewing, and the recontextualization of nature (as in Moss wall and the upcoming Waterfalls). Several of his pieces at MoMA seemed to create in the gallery space the kind of effects we associate with special effects of photography and film. In Your strange certainty still kept, droplets of water appear frozen in mid-air by the flash of strobe lights, alluding to flip books and Muybridge's experiments with sequential photos. In 1m (cubed) light, a suspended cube glows in the mist, reminiscent of a science fiction flick. In 360 (degree) room for all colours, viewers stand against a cyclorama of changing hues that wash across the screen like the opening or closing of a movie. It often feels like you're walking around a movie set that has been stripped of plot and setting. Mood and spectacle remain. The variable factor is the human. Are we to be characters or observers? When you enter one of the rooms whose elements have been sculpted, if you will, by Eliasson, you become a little bit of both.
Olafur Eliasson set [Flickr]

UPDATE: Daryl's got a shot of one of the waterfalls (sans water, of course), and he says we'll only have to wait until late June.

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