Ólafur Elíasson | Baroque Baroque
21 November 2015 – 6 March 2016
Belvedere and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) are pleased to announce their upcoming exhibition with the Danish Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Conceived by Francesca von Habsburg in collaboration with Agnes Husslein, BAROQUE BAROQUE is an ambitious venture that brings together and reconnects some of Eliasson’s most distinguished works from the holdings of TBA21 and the Juan and Patricia Vergez Collection. The overview of artworks from two decades of Eliasson’s artistic practice will explore the affinities between his work and the extraordinary baroque setting of the Belvedere’s Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy in Vienna.
Alongside these works, new site-specific interventions will activate and articulate the historical ensemble, establishing a dialogue between the volubility of the baroque architecture and the modulating perception provided by Eliasson’s artworks.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue edited by TBA21 and Belvedere in collaboration with The Patricia & Juan Vergez Collection.
Over the last decades, Eliasson has probed the cognitive and cultural aspects of seeing, stressing the relativity of reality. Transcending the confines of art, his heterogeneous, thought-provoking body of work ranges from discrete interventions to large-scale installations and employs diverse frames of reference from the natural sciences, psychology, and philosophy to challenge the normative and internalized ways in which we perceive our surroundings. In works that make use of motion, projections, shadows, and reflections, Eliasson renders visible the elliptical relationships between body, perception, and representation. Ephemeral materials—including light, reflections, water, wave patterns, and air—are brought into conversation with the spaces of the exhibition and with viewers, who become protagonists of the engaging scenarios.
Eliasson plays elegantly with visual illusion, with the liminal and the ephemeral, and with the material and the immaterial, using extroversion and introspection to resonate with cosmological ideas; his works relate strongly to notions of transformation and artifice inherent in the concept of the baroque. As an epoch of great turmoil, the baroque saw revolutionary optical and scientific discoveries as well as a blossoming of interest in the phantasmagoric and the occult. The baroque is here understood as a prolific process of constant reformulation; the tension between light and dark, knowledge and speculation, and rationality and spirituality opens up unexpected, “other” spaces of potentiality and transformation. The commissioner and original inhabitant of the Winter Palace, Prince Eugene of Savoy, was a visionary with magnificent taste and unrivaled interests in architecture, design, and art that were matched by his passion for the sciences, including mineralogy and astronomy. Prince Eugene was, like Olafur Eliasson, a man of tremendous vision who loved to embellish but also to discover, to invent, to publish, to create, and to provoke.
Curated by Daniela Zyman and Mario Codognat.