Olafur Eliasson

Works from the Boros Collection 1994 - 2015

April 18, 2015 - February 21, 2016

Encompassing some 40 works by Olafur Eliasson, the Boros Collection in Berlin has one of the most comprehensive collections of works by the Danish-Icelandic artist in the world. The Langen Foundation is pleased to present a selection of these installations, photographs, and objects, which are arranged in a dialogue with the architecture of Tadao Ando. Curated by Christiane Maria Schneider and Christian Boros, the exhibition offers insights into the work of Eliasson from the perspective of the collector. Spanning the period from 1994 to 2015, it also provides a representative overview of the artist’s oeuvre from the beginning of his practice to the present day.

Olafur Eliasson is known for his diverse and often experimental installations. Using reflective materials, colored glass, and artificially generated natural phenomena such as wind, water, light, and fog, he enthralls his viewers, actively drawing them into works that recall experiments. At the very beginning of his artistic career Eliasson explained in an interview that he conducted with himself: “I like to believe that the core element of my work lies in the experience of it.” He has remained true to this original idea. Whether in the form of his Guckkasten (1994) dating from his time as a student, his photographs of Icelandic glaciers (The glacier series, 1999), or his large-format Colour Experiments (from 2009), Eliasson repeatedly challenges modes of perception and involves the viewer.

Since the presentation of his large-scale installation The weather project in the Turbine Hall of the London Tate Modern (2003), Olafur Eliasson has been considered a master of staging immersive viewing experiences. His works are often made from the simplest materials and constructions, having an astounding effect. The exhibition in the Langen Foundation shows the work of Eliasson from multiple perspectives and reveals its fundamental principles, demonstrating both the simplicity and precision characteristic of his working process—qualities that were already manifested in early works and that continue to underlie his approach.

Through the interplay with the minimalistic architecture of Tadao Ando—which also represents a unique synthesis of art and nature—results an exciting dialogue between the architecture and the exhibited works. The corridors running along outer limits of the building were consciously integrated into the route through the exhibition. In these corridors only a glass sheath separates the museum interior from the surrounding landscape. Several of the works on view here address this interplay between the interior and the exterior.

Visible from a distance, the three-meter Colour spiral (2005) in the glassed-in entry area of the foundation forms the starting point of the exhibition. At the other end of the corridor, the high-polished steel elements constituting Negative quasi brick wall (2003) reflect the shifting daylight, while outside in front of the building is the over eight-meter high sculpture Crystal growth 4 (2011). Made out of four steel components, this work is on view to the public for the first time in the exhibition.

Inside the building, the installation Room for all colours, dating from 1999, transforms the unique elongated ramp of the Langen Foundation into a space that conveys both an emotional and physical experience. A large backlit projection screen bathes the eight-meter high object in the light of alternating colors, through which the viewers move as they pass through different levels of the space.

The work Drawing machine for all ellipses (2008) similarly enables the direct participation of the viewer, although on a much smaller scale. With the help of the installation, which fits into a ten-centimeter long box when packed up, viewers can draw ellipses on the wall of the museum and thus become part of the exhibition. Reminiscent of a scientific experiment is the installation from 1995 A description on a reflection, or a pleasant exercise regarding its qualities, which playfully depicts the seeing process of the eye while having a fascinating effect through the perfectly coordinated interaction of its individual parts. A spotlight mounted on the ceiling shines its light diagonally through the room onto a white projection screen. Two round mirrors, one turned by a motor, disperse, focus, and reflect the light. The result of the installation, the light drawing shown on the screen, is a range of amorphic manifestations whose forms alter constantly with the turning of the round mirror.

The comprehensive selection of works by Olafur Eliasson in the Boros Collection has grown over the years due to the continuous interest in and engagement with the artist on the part of Christian and Karen Boros. The Langen Foundation, which emerged from the collection of Viktor and Marianne Langen, is pleased to present this individual look at the artistic work of Eliasson. Ranging from early works to new acquisitions that have never previously been shown, 35 individual works from the Boros Collection will be on view at the Langen Foundation.


Olafur Eliasson was born in Copenhagen in 1967 and grew up in Iceland and Denmark. His work spans the media of installation, sculpture, photography, and film. Eliasson became known for works such as The weather project (2003) at the Tate Modern as well as The New York City Waterfalls (2008). His intense, experience-based, large-scale installations incorporate color, light, and movement, transposing natural phenomena into unusual contexts. In his studio in Berlin, established in 1995, Eliasson works with a team of over eighty people, including skilled craftsmen, architects, administrators, cooks, and art historians.


Olafur Eliasson - Boros Collection 1994 – 2015, a comprehensive publication produced in cooperation with Distanz Verlag, will appear over the course of the exhibition and will include texts by Joanna Warsza, Christiane Maria Schneider, Christian Boros, and an interview with Olafur Eliasson conducted by the artist himself.

176 pages; 100 illustrations; DE/EN; hardcover, cloth binding with dust jacket; 44.00 €;  ISBN 9783954760992; 24 x 32 cm

Olafur Eliasson, Room for all colours, 1999, Steel, bulbs, colour filter foil (red, green, blue), binder clips, projection foil, control unit, Dimensions variable, Installation view at De Appel, Amsterdam, 1999 © 1999 Olafur Eliasson

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