Past Exhibitions / Olafur Eliasson: The uncertain museum

July 19, 2012 - September 30, 2012

The Nasher Museum brought back a popular work, The uncertain museum, by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, known for his large-scale sculptures that entice visitors to interact and react. The uncertain museum is a circular, translucent room that invites visitors to step inside and cast patterns of projected light and shadows from hanging, mirrored discs. Outside the installation, visitors can watch silhouettes of people moving about inside. Eliasson has described this moment of perception, when the viewer pauses to consider the experience, as “seeing yourself sensing.” By introducing heightened ‘natural’ phenomena, such as intense light and reflection into a setting, the artist encourages the viewer to reflect upon an understanding of the surrounding physical world. Eliasson lives and works in Berlin.

The Nasher Museum invited New York dancer and choreographer Gwen Welliver, faculty member of American Dance Festival, to respond to The uncertain museum. She and her composition lab students presented three informal showings of work inspired by Olafur Eliasson’s large-scale interactive installation, “The uncertain museum.” The dancers moved inside “The uncertain museum” and interacted with patterns of projected light and shadow that visitors will see from outside the space. In between dances, visitors had the chance to step inside the installation.

The uncertain museum from Independent Weekly on Vimeo.

The purchase of the work was made possible by funds given by Blake Byrne, T’57, Monica M. and Richard D. Segal, Mr. and Mrs. J. Tomilson Hill, and William and Ruth True.

IMAGE: Olafur Eliasson, The uncertain museum, 2004. Steel, painted wooden floor, wire, motors, glass/mirror disks, spotlight, projection foil, 9 feet, 8 inches high x 14 feet, 7 inches diameter. Purchase, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University Fund for Acquisitions and funds provided by Blake Byrne, T’57, Monica M. and Richard D. Segal, Mr. and Mrs. J. Tomilson Hill, and Bill and Ruth True. 2006.4.1