Olafur Eliasson, The cubic structural evolution project, 2004
Olafur Eliasson: Your curious journey
May 10 – Sep 22, 2024
Singapore Art Museum
Singapore

The travelling exhibition Olafur Eliasson: Your curious journey is the first major solo exhibition in Southeast Asia dedicated to the work of Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. The survey exhibition presents a broad range of artworks that employ diverse media to touch on the major themes of his three-decade-long practice – embodiment, experience, perception, as well as the urgency of climate action and more-than-human perspectives. In his art practice, Eliasson has been driven by the desire to make the ungraspable tangible. Artworks like Beauty (1993), Symbiotic seeing (2020), Ventilator (1997); and Adrift compass (2019) use ephemeral materials, such as light, wind, fog, and water, to conjure evanescent phenomena – shimmering rainbows, swirling mists, the split-second sculptural form of a spouting fountain – or make invisible elements of our surroundings like air or magnetic fields experienceable. Other works, like The cubic structural evolution project (2004), invite visitors to collaborate on creating shared experiences, building shared worlds.

SAM is the first stop for Your curious journey. Afterwards it travels to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand (6 Dec 2024–2 March 2025); Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan (31 May–31 Aug 2025); Museum MACAN, Jakarta, Indonesia (21 Nov 2025–5 April 2026); and Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila, the Philippines (28 June–October 2026). The journeys that the artworks will take to each location over a period of three years is at the centre of one group of artworks on view in the exhibition: drawing devices installed in crates will create abstract drawings of the artworks’ long trip to their destination by truck, train, or boat. These visual traces will be on view at each leg of Your curious journey, bringing into the exhibition the global story behind the show’s development.

To compensate for the distances that the exhibition will travel, Eliasson and his team have sought ways to reduce its carbon footprint, including through changes in installation practice, maintenance, packaging, energy consumption, and, especially, transport. Artworks were selected that are lightweight, already located in the region, or whose materials can be sourced locally in order to keep transport distances to a minimum. Many of the artworks on view in the exhibition reflect Eliasson’s environmental concerns. The last seven days of glacial ice, 2024, for instance, presents the stages in a melting ice block that was found and scanned on a beach in Iceland, and The glacier melt series 1999/2019, a series of photographs taken by the artist in Iceland in 1999 and again from the same perspectives in 2019, shows the decimation of the country’s impressive glaciers over the past twenty years.

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