Sometimes, places and people connect without sharing a physical space. Before the opening of the Venice Biennale in May, a number of pin boards took shape at Olafur Eliasson's studio in Berlin – one of them a collage of Green light images. Mostly showing images of the workshop and Shared learning programme in Augarten in Vienna, but also documenting experiments long before, including the development of the lamp’s geometry or the testing of materials. These days, an updated large pin board shows photographs from the Venice workshop. And so a visual connection is built, between the Green light team and space in Venice and the studio team and space in Berlin.
Some pin boards also appear in a new book we put together, here in Olafur’s studio in Berlin. Called Open House, it welcomes you into the heart of the studio. Photographs, interviews with Olafur and studio team members, texts from friends, and thoughts from books that inspire us are shared to give a glimpse into the studio as a site of artistic production, exchange, and engagement.
Conceived and edited in collaboration with independent curator Joanna Warsza, the book is a self-portrait – but at the same time asks how art can become a more powerful participant in the larger social and political sphere today.
Picking up on the Scandinavian tradition of an open house, the book gives insight into how the studio works: the kitchen; the metal and wood workshops; the Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments), an educational platform; Studio Other Spaces, an office for art and architecture founded by Olafur and Sebastian Behmann; and Little Sun, Olafur’s social business.
Open House follows ideas from their first emergence to their embodiment as artworks and shows the forms of engagement in which Olafur and his studio are increasingly invested. It sheds light on how some of Olafur’s recent interventions and projects came about – including Ice Watch and Green light – An artistic workshop at Viva Arte Viva, the 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, projects that address the vital issues of climate change and global migration.
Open House will be published 15 June 2017.
by Kristina Köper, Research and Communications, Studio Olafur Eliasson