olafur eliasson layers a riverbed within louisiana museum of modern art
for the first time, danish-icelandic artist olafur eliasson presents a solo show at denmark’s prestigious louisiana museum of modern art, placing three spatial installations within the architectural context of the site. like many of the exhibitions presented throughout his creative career, eliasson’s ‘riverbed’ is site-specific, engaging with the cultural institution’s unique identity, thematically linking the artworks and gallery as a place — physically, structurally and historically. radical interventions delve into the reality of the space as an institution, and at the same time focus on local sensory experiences as part of a global perspective. the central work in the exhibition is ‘riverbed’, a giant landscape which unfolds throughout the south wing of the gallery in one great sweep. a surface of rocks canvasses the floors, creating a terrain for a stream of water winding through the interior. the piece places an alternative path to the one already anticipated by the architecture: visitors are transported from the typical walk across a tile floor, to steps on top of loose terrain, and finally a course along a river. the installation acts as a direct reference to the history of the site — louisiana’s south wing was added in 1982 on a slope that used to be home to a sculpture garden. ‘riverbed’ affords the viewer the opportunity to think about the aesthetic experience as more than just an encounter between the visitor and works on the floor or walls.