Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson


Copenhagen and Berlin

For His Leadership in Creating Inclusive Communities

Art offers one of the few places in our society today where people from various backgrounds can come together to share an experience while having different opinions. Disagreement is not only accepted but encouraged. Art helps us identify with one another and expands our notions of we – from the local to the global.

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has exhibited worldwide since 1997. In 2003, The weather project, installed in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, London, was seen by more than 2 million people. In 2007, Take your time: Olafur Eliasson, a survey exhibition organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), travelled to various venues in the United States and Australia. In 2014, Riverbed filled an entire wing of Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art with stones and water, emulating a river in a rocky landscape.

Projects in public spaces include Green river, realized in various cities between 1998 and 2001; The New York City Waterfalls, 2008; Your rainbow panorama, a 150-metre circular, coloured-glass walkway atop ARoS Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, 2006-2011; the facades of Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre (in collaboration with Henning Larsen Architects), 2005-2011; and Cirkelbroen (The circle bridge) in Copenhagen, 2015.

Established in Berlin in 1995, his studio now includes about 80 craftsmen, technicians, architects, archivists, administrators and cooks. The team engages in experimentation, research and communication.

From 2009 to 2014, Eliasson led the Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments), a five-year educational programme affiliated with the Berlin University of the Arts. Eliasson is currently adjunct professor at the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Eliasson strives to make the concerns of art relevant to society at large. In 2012, Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen founded Little Sun, a social business and global project addressing the need for light in a sustainable way that benefits communities without electricity, creates local jobs and generates local profits.