Currently on view at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris is Olafur Eliasson: Contact, a monographic exhibition devoted to the internationally renowned Danish-Icelandic artist. In his show, which closes February 16, Eliasson explores the mysterious spatial effects of electric light, mirrors, and other materials to superbly complement the architecture of the strikingly sculptural building designed by Frank Gehry.
The installation is composed of eight, distinctive, interior spaces with such titles as Touch, Double Infinity, and Parallax Planet, and continues on several levels, including the main one. In one installation, Grotto: Inside the Horizon, Eliasson uses triangular beams of light to create a luminous yellow tunnel leading to one of the museum’s terraces. A ninth installation, Sun Tracker, is placed on the roof of the museum to throw natural light back onto a kaleidoscopic, geometric sculpture made of glass, which hangs in the lobby.
Elsewhere, openings in the installation enable visitors to catch glimpses of Gehry’s structure as well as the Jardin d’Acclimation and parts of the Bois de Boulogne where the museum is located. The immersive play of light and shadow, emphasized by the ingenious use of mirrors, is one where the brain, as Eliasson has explained, is meant to construct its own experiential space that goes beyond the purely visual. The artist intends to affect the consciousness of the viewer in questioning the known and unknown, and placing him or her in a special relationship to the universe. In doing so, he brings additional dimension to the Fondation, where the second installation of its collection of international contemporary art (up until March 30) has just replaced the first exhibition mounted for the museum’s opening on October 24, 2014.
The Eliasson exhibition was organized by a team including Suzanne Pagé, artistic director of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, and curators Laurence Bossé and Hans Ulrich Obrist, in cooperation with Claire Staebler.
Magdalena Dabrowski is a former curator of modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum and senior curator of drawings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She is currently living in Paris where she consults on art acquisitions.