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Olafur Eliasson Sculpture At Frieze London Imitates A School Of Fish

Olafur Eliasson's "Schools of Movement Sphere" is a spiraling stainless steel orb that transforms a space with light and shadow.

by Kevin Holmes
Oct 17 2014, 2:00pm

A video showing the piece being made

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson currently has a new piece on display at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery stand at Frieze London. Called Schools of Movement Sphere, it's a rotating, shimmering orb made up of individual triangular mirrors. When viewed up close, it looks like an abstracted and otherworldly school of fish.

The piece consists of two stainless steel frames, one placed inside the other. "Each trace the geodesic lines of a sphere, although in directions reciprocal to one another, creating a spherical lattice," explains Studio Olafur Eliasson. "Affixed in pairs to the small connecting spans between the two frames are innumerable triangles of mirror and blue painted steel. A single bulb at the core of the sphere projects the dynamic pattern of shadows created by the triangles and framework onto the surrounding space."

The piece follows a long line of spherical works from Eliasson, each which examines the appeal and wonder of the form, and how it can transform a space. His 2004 piece, Opera House Chandeliersfirst explored the effects of such a shape on color, light, and shadow. "The spheres occupy space and define their context by projecting out onto their surroundings," the studio notes.

2012's Cold Wind Sphere was another piece that followed similar design principles. This time, the title—referring to a model for an atmospheric system—reflected Eliasson's fascination with the abundance and importance of the sphere to the design and physics of the natural world. Schools of Movement Sphere again references nature, and with the sheer craftsmanship that went into its construction, means that just by moving around the object, viewers can experience it, and its surrounding space, differently.

From Studio Olafur Eliasson:

Drawing inspiration from the mesmerizing relationship between internal motion and external shape exhibited by schooling fish, the static surface of the work appears to be a flurry of movement. The geodesic lines of the sphere naturally draw the eye upwards in a whirlwind of tints and shapes, and even the slightest movement by the viewer alters the perceived alignment of spirals and triangles, creating the illusion of constant change. The viewer recognizes her movements through the room in the motion she perceives in and on the sphere. 

Check out some crowd-generated pics of the piece below, along with images showing the work being created at Studio Olafur Eliasson in Berlin.


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Image via Studio Olafur Eliasson


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