Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Elliasson is well-known for his work in sculptures and large-scale installations, often utilizing light or other natural elements. Recently though he’s been heading into new territory, recontextualizing the paintings of landscape artist J.M.W. Turner into circular paintings, bringing the works to a pure form.
Turner’s ability to shape and frame light in his paintings has had a significant impact on my work….In the Turner colour experiments, I’ve isolated light and colour in Turner’s works in order to extract his sense of ephemera from the objects of desire that his paintings have become. The schematic arrays of colours on round canvases generate a feeling of endlessness and allow the viewer to take in the artwork in a decentralised, meandering way.
It’s an interesting idea from a conceptual standpoint, that he’s transformed the light and colors that J.M.W. Turner saw into a sweeping, endless gradient. The abstraction while seemingly simple is intensely scientific. Eliasson is analysing pigments, paint production and application of colour in order to mix paint in the exact color for each nanometre of the visible light spectrum. An ambitious project with really impactful results.