The perception of space is the other major theme that informs the exhibition. Eliasson’s space is triggered by the presence of visitors and can only function when actively walked through.
For example, in the work titled Under the weather (2022), situated at the entrance of the beautiful courtyard of the Palazzo, Eliasson bends the palace’s lines, spaces, and elements to create a dialogue with his own work and the visitors. This site-specific installation comprises a large elliptical structure over 10 meters tall and suspended 8 meters above the ground and uses a moiré effect, activated by the gaze of the viewers, to challenge their perception of the palace and its spaces. Each visitor, moving around the courtyard, can be tricked by the optical effects of the installation, each one perceiving a different version of the work itself.
This idea of the deconstruction of one’s perception can be traced throughout the exhibition. Works like How do we live together? (2019), Colour spectrum kaleidoscope (2003), and the aforementioned Room for one colour (1997) are all pieces the artist created to challenge our senses through mirrors and mono frequency lights.
The exhibition culminates in the underground spaces of the palace, the Strozzina, where Eliasson introduces Your view matter (2022). Presented to the public for the first time, the work uses VR technology to explore bodily experiences in the digital space. Donning a special headset, visitors enter a digital world comprising a series of six virtual spaces that recreate geometrical complex solids – a tetrahedron, an octahedron, an icosahedron, a dodecahedron, as well as a cube, and a sphere. Accompanied by a pulsing minimalist soundtrack created by the artist, the visitors can virtually move around those spaces, interacting with their geometries and patterns, experiencing, yet again, a constant shift in their perception of space and time.
As Eliasson states in the exhibition press release,
It’s a process of unlearning and relearning how vision works, involving not only vision but also the movement of your head, body, and brain.
Moving around the palace, which survived the centuries and arrived to the present day almost unaltered, one can truly experience the flowing of time and the unfolding of history. In a city like Florence, which so massively relies on its history and traditions, the Eliasson exhibition creates a bridge between the past and the future.
Olafur Eliasson: Nel tuo tempo
22 September–22 January 2023
Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy
Conceived by Studio Olafur Eliasson
Curated by Arturo Galansino
Info and opening hours at the museum website.