Your solar nebula

Olafur Eliasson, 1967

Your solar nebula, 2015

Born in Denmark in 1967, Olafur Eliasson produces works that influence and transform their sites and surroundings by interacting and connecting with them. He transforms exhibition spaces into play areas where the conflict between nature and culture is erased. He adds new stories to city histories by creating waterfalls in city centers or painting rivers green. Through his interactive play of light, shadow and scale, he “concretizes” exhibition spaces and enables us to really feel them. Eliasson effectively transforms the static exhibition space into a living, changing stage on which the spectator also performs. Although viewers collectively experience his work, they may experience and interpret it differently.

The artist’s work “Your solar nebula” is composed of 328 glass spheres reminiscent of natural phenomena, such as water droplets or teardrops. There are three colors at the back of each sphere: a silver mirror-like surface at the center merging with black paint to the right and yellow paint to the left. The spheres are of different sizes and, when seen as a whole, seem to be frozen in a way that is reminiscent of stars coming together to form a spiral galaxy. This form has no geometric outline or arrangement and invokes a moment without predetermined coordinates, like the flow of a stream of water or a shooting star. The circular colors in the spheres become evident only when viewed from up close. Though the spheres are of various sizes, when viewed head-on they give the illusion that they are fully reflective. Looking at the spheres from different angles and distances, one realizes that their color and degree of transparency are actually much more complex than they appear. The spots of color inside the spheres also make them look like eyeballs. These spheres call attention to naturally-occurring formations, such as how the Milky Way functions or a cloud forms and breaks up. The image on the surface of this work varies depending on the angle from which it is viewed. The work therefore offers an experience which the viewers will create for themselves. This experience will occur differently for every visitor, depending on their physical position in the exhibition space, their distance and viewing time.

Photograph: Jens Zıehe, Berlın




321 partially silvered crystal spheres, paint, stainless steel

Credit Line

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Collection