Olafur Eliasson - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Tuesday, November 10, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    As Philip Ursprund observes, Olafur Eliasson’s artworks "demonstrate how our relationship with time and space is uncertain" (Philip Ursprund, "From Observer to Participant in Olafur Eliasson’s Studio," Studio Olafur Eliasson, Taschen: 2012, p.19) Through sculpture and installation, Eliasson invites us to reconsider habituated modes of perception, offering alternative or amended ways of thinking about our surroundings.

    His work creates environments that facilitate individualized and revisionary experiences. The past decades have seen him use backlit screens and mirror foil to create a false sun in the Tate Modern’s turbine hall (The Weather Project, 2003) and empty a water reservoir to flood the streets of Johannesburg (Erosion, 1997). Common to many of Eliasson’s projects is the invitation which he extends to the viewer to move around or through the environment that he has created. Such is the case in his one-way colour tunnel, (2007), a passage constructed in part from acrylic mirrors, which appears to change color as the viewer moves through it. Questions of relation and perspective are central to his work, and one of his enduring interests is in the ability to occupy shifting intellectual, sensory and spatial positions. His is an aesthetics that invites audiences to engage in processes of continued re-evaluation.

    The present lot, Your space eruption, is similarly interested in these processes. Like many of Eliasson’s works, its title is rendered in the second person. It addresses itself to the viewer, signaling that its principal concern is with the individual’s own modes of interpretation. In this case, the sculpture invites consideration of how we experience, or can experience, the present. This is a longstanding concern of the Icelandic-Danish artist. In 2011, he created Model for a Timeless Garden for which he illuminated a series of fountains using a strobe light. The effect was to break temporal continuity, to show a series of individualized and distinct present moments in which the water appeared suspended in air. It was a project, in part, about the possibility of reconceptualizing time, drawing attention to the mutability of perceptual modes.

    Dating from two years earlier, Your space eruption in some sense anticipates Model For A Timeless Garden albeit in a rather different form. It bears a degree of detail and sculptural definition that distinguishes it amongst Eliasson's major works. Rendered in bronze, it features Eliasson’s distinctive latticework, a feature common to earlier works like 5-dimensional pavilion (1998) and fivefold tunnel (2000). A circle defines the outer edge of the structure from which rise a series of interlocking lines, some of which form peaks before leading back into the center of the sculpture. The space created by these lines suggests an eruption, or more precisely one fleeting moment of an eruption given permanent form. The effect is therefore of suspension in time, and of a present that exists in an unusually dilated form.

    Yet, whilst Your space eruption exists in this extended present moment, the sculpture also implies motion. One senses the possibility of expansion and contraction, and that this is one stage of an unfolding process. In his own terms, Eliasson “value[s] presence when it’s an extension of memory or the beginning of our expectations.” (Olafur Eliasson in conversation with Philip Ursprund and Anna Engberg-Pederson, "Now," Studio Olafur Eliasson, Taschen: 2012, p.287) This idea finds full expression in Your space eruption. The structure is immobile and unchanging, and yet an eruption is by its very nature mobile and changeable. Looking at this vision of an extended present, one is also aware of an imagined process of which it forms part. The sculpture remains fixed, but there is the strange intimation of potential histories and futures. As with other of Eliasson’s work, Your space eruption explores the complex mechanisms through which we order experience and understand time.

Property from a Private American Collection


Your space eruption

167 x 186 1/4 x 186 1/4 in. (424.2 x 473.1 x 473.1 cm)
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist; this work is accompanied by maintenance instructions.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $221,000

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head Day Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 10 November 2015 11am