Life - Exhibition by Olafur Eliasson at Fondation Beyeler

Event Dates: 
17 April, 2021 - 18:00 - 11 July, 2021 - 17:00

Life by Olafur Eliasson

For Life, Olafur Eliasson removed a broad section of the Fondation Beyeler’s windows. This opens up the museum to its surroundings, to the plants and animals of the public park, to the urban landscape, to the changing weather, and to the fluctuations in light and darkness.

Institution, visitors, and other life forms are thrown together in a space of coexistence. Life blurs the separation between outside and inside, museum and artwork – an effect that extends to Eliasson’s wish to keep the gallery open day and night.

Light and darkness significantly change the experience of Life. How it is experienced depends radically on the time of day: the water appears bright green in daylight and fluoresces at night, an effect achieved through a combination of ultraviolet light and a fluorescent dye in the water.

The water fills the exhibition, connecting the interior with the outdoor pond and creating a continuous waterscape. The surface of the water, depending on the light conditions and the weather, reveals a spectrum of reflections that involve the surrounding space as well as the visitors, making them co-producers of the artwork.

The pond in the museum’s garden connects with the gallery’s interior spaces to create a continuous waterscape. A great number of plants, all of which thrive in shallow water, inhabit the surface of the pond: floating fern, dwarf water lilies, shellflower, red root floater, and water caltrop.

Some of these were already an integral part of the existing pond. Others will settle in this habitat during the course of the exhibition. These interlopers enter into dialogue with the existing flora of the museum park, the bushes, grass, and trees there, some of which are centuries old. The result is an interpenetrating, intertwined growth.

Cameras in the gallery spaces and in the garden have been installed to inhabit the perspective of non-human creatures, placed, for example, just above the surface of the water or high up in a tree.

The cameras are equipped with a number of optical filters that mimic the perceptual apparatuses of other species. A multi-channel live stream, accessible day and night, alludes to more-than-human perceptions of time and introduces a range of multi-species perspectives of the exhibition and its surroundings.

Where: Fondation Beyeler, Baselstrasse 101, 4125 Riehen/Basel

When: until 11 July 2021

OPENING HOURS: Monday to Sunday 10–18 / Wednesday 10–20

365 days a year (incl. public holidays)