press release

The Dallas Museum of Art presents this fall the internationally acclaimed exhibition Take your time: Olafur Eliasson. This exhibition gathers works from major public and private collections worldwide and spans Eliasson’s diverse range of artistic production from 1993 to the present, including installations, large-scale immersive environments, freestanding sculpture and photography.

The Dallas presentation of this exhibition, the third U.S. venue of an international tour that Time magazine named one of the best exhibits of the year, will display several of the works previously shown in San Francisco, where the show originated, and New York and will add a new piece to the touring exhibition, The outside of inside (2008), that has yet to be seen in the U.S.

“We are very pleased to host at the Dallas Museum of Art Olafur Eliasson and his critically acclaimed exhibition Take your time, which includes our recent acquisition, the Jokla series of photographs,” said Bonnie Pitman, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Museum. “Our presentation of Take your time: Olafur Eliasson, following its marvelous installations at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where it premiered under its curator, Madeleine Grynsztejn, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, demonstrates the DMA’s continued commitment to offering our community the most ambitious exhibitions of work by today’s most important artists.”

This first full-scale survey of approximately twenty of Eliasson’s works “cements the 40-year-old artist’s reputation,” said the Los Angeles Times in 2007; the New York Times called his work “enchanting, spacious, evanescent and intellectually stimulating.” “He is one of the most ingenious, far-sighted and productive artists working today,” wrote the Wall Street Journal, “motivated by complex philosophical and social theories and yet immensely popular with crowds.”

The Dallas debut of The outside of inside (2008) expands Eliasson's previous experiments with light and color as it explores the co-production of color and its spatial consequences. The projections, made by twenty-four spotlights with color filter foil project a looped sequence of changing geometric shapes, varying in color. In response, the visitors see afterimages overlapping with the colors projected onto the walls. Color generally being conceived as a product of the brain, rather than existing independently in the world, the sequence is thus co-produced by the visitors.

“Eliasson likes to be emotional and likes that his work provokes emotions,” said María de Corral, The Hoffman Family Adjunct Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art and the organizing curator of the Dallas presentation. “As he says, ‘being emotional does not imply just feelings, but also a social responsibility.’ Eliasson is interested in the physical, social and political aspects of his work, and for this reason he tries to narrate experiences and produce reactions in the viewer,” de Corral continues. “As visitors to this exhibition will see, for Eliasson, the viewer’s experience is important, and here, the title tells us more about that experience: Take your time refers to ‘the time the viewer decides to invest in looking at the work of art, and the time that the work of art engages the viewer and makes him/her stay to experience it.’”

Eliasson is among the most influential and widely acclaimed artists of his generation. From light-filled environments to walk-in kaleidoscopes, his uniquely participatory works offer alluring spaces that harness optical cognition and meteorological elements, examine the intersection of nature and science, and explore the boundary between the organic and artificial.

Take your time: Olafur Eliasson is designed to encourage viewers to understand the range of this artist’s methodology, with each gallery demonstrating one of five fundamental aspects of his practice: a distinctive use of mirrors to displace the viewer’s perception of both object and self; an exploration of light and optical phenomena via immersive environments that rely upon the viewer for full effect; a deep attention to and manipulation of landscape referents; a disposition toward scientific methods and materials, including the willful exposure of the creative process; and, finally, photographic suites of the Icelandic landscape.

Included in Take your time are approximately twenty of what are considered his most outstanding and mind-blowing works including Beauty (1993), a curtain of mist that, from specific locations, depending on the height and position of the viewer, make visible a rainbow; Jokla series (2004), a set of forty-eight chromogenic color prints; and 360º room for all colours (2002), which makes spectators acutely aware of vision’s active role in Eliasson’s artwork; Moss wall (1994), a solid wall of living Icelandic moss; and One-way colour tunnel (2007).

Take your time: Olafur Eliasson is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn, who is also the editor of the exhibition catalog. Lead support was provided by Helen and Charles Schwab and the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund. Generous support was provided by the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, and SFMOMA’s Collectors Forum. Additional support was provided by Patricia and William Wilson III, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The presentation in Dallas is made possible by Museum Tower and by the Contemporary Art Fund through a bequest from the estate of Brooke Aldridge in honor of Cindy and Howard Rachofsky and through the gifts of an anonymous donor, Arlene and John Dayton, Laura and Walter Elcock, Amy and Vernon Faulconer, Kenny Goss and George Michael, Nancy and Tim Hanley, Marguerite S. Hoffman, Suzanne and Patrick McGee, Allen and Kelli Questrom, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, and Sharon and Michael Young. Generous support provided by the Donor Circle membership program through leadership gifts of Gail and Dan W. Cook III, Claire Dewar, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger, Allen and Kelli Questrom, and Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. Air transportation provided by American Airlines. Hotel accommodations for the exhibition provided by Sheraton Dallas. Promotional support provided by WRR Classical 101.1 FM.

Olafur Eliasson, the artist

Eliasson was born in Denmark in 1967 to Icelandic parents and presently divides his time between his family’s home in Copenhagen, his studio complex in Berlin and long periods of work in Iceland. In the early 1990s he joined an emerging generation of artists who were seeking to expand upon conventional object making through the use of ephemeral and intangible materials—in Eliasson’s case, light, wind, heat, and especially water, in all its various stages from liquid to solid.

The crux of his practice was honed during his student days at Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, which he attended from 1989 through 1995. At the same time he was inspired by pioneers of the Light and Space movement of the 1960s, including Robert Irwin and James Turrell, and he was equally receptive to the European Arte Povera movement. It was also during his student days that he began an ongoing engagement with the philosophy of phenomenology and its focus on the workings of consciousness, especially visual perception, which led him to integrate visual phenomena as an artistic tool.

Eliasson had his first solo exhibition in Copenhagen in 1992 and was introduced to the American public in 1995 by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York. But it was in 2003 that he captivated the art world with a massive environment called The weather project—a gigantic artificial sun installed inside the Turbine Hall at London’s Tate Modern. Incorporating the artist’s signature elements of light, mirrors and mist, the monumental installation attracted enormous critical success and nearly two million visitors.

Though celebrated internationally as one of the most important artists working today, Olafur Eliasson’s oeuvre has received less exposure in the United States. Some fifteen years have elapsed since the start of his career, and his multifaceted production on a variety of scales will at last be unified for American audiences in this presentation.

Olafur Eliasson: Take Your Time

08.09.07 - 03.02.08 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
20.04.08 - 30.06.08 Museum of Modern Art, New York
20.04.08 - 30.06.08 P.S.1 MoMA
09.11.08 - 15.03.09 Dallas Museum of Art
01.05.09 - 13.09.09 Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
10.12.09 - 11.04.10 Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney