Olafur Eliasson Presents Green light An artistic Workshop At Art Basel

Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson’s Green light is an artistic workshop presented at Art Basel on June 18 and 19. This presentation will take place within Zome Alloy, an architectural structure by Los Angeles-based artist Oscar Tuazon to be installed on Messeplatz in Basel for the duration of the fair. 

Conceived by Eliasson as a metaphorical green light for refugees and migrants in Europe and beyond, Green light testifies to the agency of contemporary art and its potential to initiate processes of civic transformation. The Green Light project commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary in spring 2016 is a model for further action and represents, for Eliasson, a methodology for responding to a situation of great urgency. 

In the modular, utopian architectural setting of Zome Alloy, the Green light production cycle opens up novel perspectives on agency and social construction within the current context of global migration and increased mobility. For two days, the Green lights will be presented and fabricated by local art and architecture students in collaboration with two workshop participants, in an environment constructed out of Green lights. Assembled and flatpacked lights are available on site for a donation of CHF 350. All proceeds from the project go to supporting TBA21’s partner organizations Georg Danzer Haus, Caritas, and Red Cross Vienna. The crystalline Green light lamps are polyhedral units fitted with small green-tinted LEDs. Made predominantly from recycled and sustainable materials and designed to be stackable, the modules can function either as single objects or be assembled into a variety of architectural configurations. As a participatory and collaborative model of learning together, the Green lights comprise a fixed structure and flexible modules: a hardware and software that speaks to a collective notion of sameness and difference. With Green light, utopia might then be understood as a series of small utopias and possibilities in the interspace of the present and possible futures. 

The Danish Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (born 1967) works in a wide variety of mediums, including installation, painting, sculpture, photography, and film. Awarded with the 2016 Crystal Award for creating inclusive communities, Eliasson ist also known for his environmentalist and socially-engaged projects. Since 1997 his critically acclaimed solo shows have appeared in major museums around the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate Modern, London, and in major international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale. In 2003 The weather project, installed in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, was seen by more than two million people. Eliasson’s projects in public spaces include Camera obscura für die Donau, Austria (2004); Your black horizon, commissioned by TBA21 and installed in a pavilion designed by David Adjaye at Lopud, Croatia (2005); The New York City Waterfalls (2008); Your rainbow panorama, a 150-meter circular colored- glass walkway situated on top of ARoS Museum in Aarhus, Denmark (2006–11); and Cirkelbroen (The circle bridge), Copenhagen (2015).

Established in 1995, Eliasson’s Berlin studio today employs about ninety craftsmen, specialized technicians, architects, archivists, administrators, and cooks. They work with Eliasson to experiment and to develop and produce artworks and exhibitions, as well as to archive and communicate his work, digitally and in print. In addition to realizing artworks in-house, the studio contracts with structural engineers and other specialists and collaborates worldwide with cultural practitioners, policy makers, and scientists. It regularly hosts workshops and events in order to further artistic and intellectual exchanges with people and institutions outside the art world.

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

Since 2012 Eliasson has directed the social business Little Sun, together with the engineer Frederik Ottesen, which produces and distributes solar lamps for use in off-grid communities.

In 2014, Eliasson and collaborator Sebastian Behmann founded Studio Other Spaces to focus on interdisciplinary and experimental building projects and works in public space. Eliasson lives and works in Copenhagen and Berlin.

On November 21, 2015, the Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy in Vienna opened its doors to thousands of visitors to the exhibition OLAFUR ELIASSON: BAROQUE BAROQUE, bringing together a significant selection of artworks by Eliasson from the private collections of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary and Juan and Patricia Vergez. The exhibition is open until March 6, 2016. 

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