A sun that never sets (or rises).
Reflections on a radiant art installation by Olafur Eliasson
I can’t think of a better image than this for my first blog post. It’s a picture of the site-specific installation by the Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, called ‘The Weather Project’, installed in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern Gallery in London in 2003.
It consists of a semi-circular screen, a ceiling of mirrors and an artificial mist that creates the illusion of a sun that illuminates everything in black, white and yellow.
I’ve also chosen this image for my mobile phone’s wallpaper and considering that – according to recent statistics – we are picking up our mobiles around 58 times per day, it has a considerable presence in my everyday life.
It is quite normal for me to take my time to understand what it is that causes me to become so attached to a specific artwork, and this one is no exception.
This installation keeps me in awe – in a sort of virtual suspended place where time and space are undefined, and colours are washed away. It really describes how I feel, and maybe how many other people are now feeling, yet it gives me comfort and makes me want to go back there.
Despite the title, this artwork goes beyond the weather. It takes me to a place of meditation and stillness, in contemplation of its very magnetizing point: the radiant artificial sun.
I only recently discovered, that before the exhibition, the artist handed out a questionnaire to Tate’s employees which included questions such as ‘Has a weather phenomenon ever changed the course of your life dramatically?’ and ‘Do you think tolerance to other individuals is proportional to the weather?’
Well, I think that in this perspective we can extend the meaning of weather to a whole set of circumstances that in a specific time frame can affect our choices and shape our feelings.
In this captivating space, I feel at home, warm and comforted. People are still around me – we are almost touching shoulders – yet in silence, waiting for something to come.
I’m waiting for the sun to set, and I wish you all a new rising one.
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo