Olafur Eliasson - Contemporary Art Part I New York Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gallerie Emi Fontana, Milan; Private collection, Europe

  • Literature

    F. Matzner, H. Manske, and R. Pfister, eds., No Art = No City! Urban Utopias in Contemporary Art, Ostfildern-Ruit/New York, 2003, pp. 42-44 (illustrated); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, ed., Olafur Eliasson: Your Lighthouse. Works with light 1991-2004, Ostifildern-Ruit, 2004, no. 126, p. 163 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “It might sound like a utopian idea, wanting to escape Cartesian culture and overcome Euclidean geometry. In order to attempt this, alterative spatial structures and ways to experience them have to be investigated. Visual models, which have altered quite as much over time through social, ideological, technological, and other conditions, explain the human relationship to the environment. Because the sense of sight is defined as being of chief importance when it comes to recognition, pieces of optical equipment are probably the best means to put this relationship to the test. For instance, the kaleidoscope organizes visual perspective into a special mass. As an apparatus used to fragment solid points of an image or as a tool to test alternative visual perspectives, the kaleidoscope was once considered the essence of modernity. It mirrors, in the truest sense of the word, the environment toward which visual attention is directed. In doing so, everything seen seems to become an all-encompassing unit of three-dimensional space—and therefore corporeal. This endless repetition results in a fantastic projection that recalls Bruno Taut’s crystal building, which was illuminated by bright lights. Taut’s imaginative drawings illustrate a gigantic fantasy of glass buildings, whose crystalline structures reflect as far as the ‘nameless nothing’ of the universe, thus artificially, exaggeratedly elevating nature. Glass architecture was the crucial phrase for the early twentieth-century avant-garde. Although at the time Paxton’s glass palace was considered the incunabulum of modern architecture. It embodied the transparent longing for a new world. No other material was able to overcome the material world as well as glass did. Even though the kaleidoscope always reflects the same image, as Marx accused the ‘deceptive’ device of doing, its prismatic division of an original unit also presents a new kind of reality, recondensed into a different whole.” (C. Eggel, No Art = No City! Urban Utopias in Contemporary Art, Ostfildern-Ruit/New York, 2003, pp. 43-44).


Colour Vision Kaleidoscope

Wood and coated glass on wooden tripod.
Kaleidoscope 14 x 14 x 42 in. (35.6 x 35.6 x 106.7 cm); Tripod 52 x 36 x 26 in. (132.1 x 91.4 x 66 cm).
This work is from an edition of three. Dichromatic mirrors of various colors are in a hexagonal kaleidoscope mounted on a wooden tripod.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $192,000

Contemporary Art Part I

17 May 2007
7pm New York