You are going to a museum and expecting to see varıious art objects. However, you are mistaken; what you see – or what you experience here- is the unity of perception rather than an object.

The objects of contemporary art come to be seen in a different way in contrast to the traditional art works. Whilst the field provides flexibility for ‘’everybody can be an artist’’ or ‘’everything can be an artwork’’, you may came across with an object what is inappropriate but also something that you would never expect to see in a museum. What if the artist tells you another story and dare to shift the object of art?: “Beyond what you see here, see yourself seeing.’’


Riverbed, Olafur Eliasson @Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

‘’ You could say that I am trying to put the body in the mind and the mind in the body.’’
Olafur Eliasson who is a conceptual artist emphasizes the interpretation of experience itself is a paradox in his artworks due to using natural elements or even natural fragments now and then. This paradox underlies in his core idea, thus he includes that ‘’ You could say that I am trying to put the body in the mind and the mind in the body.’’ Indeed, in the back of the approaches lies to create fragments of the nature or the simulation of the nature and use the main elements of the nature like water, soil, air and fog which are inherited from modern philosophy.
The major figure of modern philosophy, Kant mentions that the marvelous human gaze towards the nature creates a sensation of almightiness beyond perception. He also puts the human mind in the center of the nature in contrast the renaissance which focus on only human beings. As Kant mentioned, in fact, all of our experiences and senses are filtered through a glass which refer our interpretation; through ourselves.
From our manner of perception to the artworks that we find beautiful, this ‘’Glass of Kant’’ is not only the reference spot of our experience but also it is the biggest factor of the our interpretation results. Ultimately, this glass is made of the social, cultural bases of human and consist a code that the habitat accompanies with. On the other hand, it is the cruces of experimentation of the things and everything must pass through this filter as well.
Indeed, it is an inevitable fact that these interpretations shape our experience as much as we interpret our experiences. Olafur creates his framework of conceptual art idea through the judgement of taste that is the core topic in the art critics, while he focuses on the relation between the nature and art. Olafur also emphasizes the ‘objectless’-‘objectless’ idea of contemporary art and even refers minimalism.
He points at the subject which is beyond the painting or sculpture that you gaze- beyond an object- even beyond an interactive installation; our sensation is the only thing that can be perceived. His works as a prove of the phisical object of the art is shifting into metaphisical concepts. You may easily infer this point when you look at the name of his artworks and exhibitions; Your Emotional Future, Your Uncertain Shadow, Feeling Things, Body as a Brain…
Olafur places the human and his/her experiences in his idea of perception of art, he also follows the same way in his practical processes. During the period of projecting and thinking operations, dozens of multi-discipliner people are involved in the process as much as his team. Some of renowned people like Einar Thorsteinn and Sebastian Behmann are the architects whose names are frequently mentioned with Elliason. He also supports the collective production process by collaborating with scientists or with a designer. Olafur also open debates such ”How an artwork should be posed?” or ”How an art space should be fictionalized?” and ”Under the objectless conditions what would be the problems between artist with the museums and galleries?” are also evaluated at the same time.

Olafur Eliason’s art journey which started at the Royal Collage of Art Copenhagen, embraces the Turkish visitors with Istanbul Modern’s “The Past and The Future” exhibition, a piece of artwork (Red Emotional Globe) he brought into his contemporary arts collection.

This artcile has been published in Tasarim Magazine No: 244 both in English&Turkish.

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