Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Eye Candy: Olafur Eliasson's Amazing New Art Installation

Using just a series of colored lights and basic principles of optics, Eliasson makes magic.

Olafur Eliasson

The artist Olafur Eliasson—probably best known for installating four 90-foot artifical waterfalls on New York's rivers—is out with his newest work, Multiple Shadow House. It's a doozy.

On view (for free) at the Tonya Bonakdar Gallery through March 20, it consists of a simple series of rooms, each one lit by a bank of lights. Here's the optical trick: The individual lights are all different colors, but the create white light when they all blend on a single wall. As visitors walk in front of the light sources, that hides certain colors—thus freeing the rest to reveal themselves as colored shadows.

Olafur Eliasson

You'd think something like this would only be reserved for CGI—but it's amazing to interact with:

Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson is a polymath who's designed everything from bridges (which we covered here) to cars (which we covered here). But this piece is where his true skills lie—that is, using optical effects and light to create spell binding, immersive works, such as these two:

The piece that made Eliasson famous was a gigantic indoor sun and mirrored ceiling that he installed in the cavernous main hall of London's Tate Modern:

But before that, he worked on a smaller scale, though the works were just as amazing, such as the fantastically beautiful and nearly impossible-to-photograph Beauty, which consists simply of a misting mechanism, a spotlight, and a darkened room. When you're inside it, it seems like you're walking through a rainbow-colored ghost:

Olafur Eliasson

Register now to make sure you have a voice in the election.