Olafur Eliasson, a well-established Danish/Icelandic artist, has installed an imitation dried riverbed in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. The artist filled rooms in the gallery with rocks, and created what would be a remnant stream, were it actually a dried river. The museum building has had many additions and renovations, and so the architecture and space is an essential part of the experience, and something obviously important to those with investments in the institution. Olafur states that he is interested in the audience’s presence in the museum and their interaction with the artwork. He wants to emphasize the museum space as a “natural bodily process” (according to the Louisiana website, translated by google). In any case, Eliasson’s installation does a good job of eliminating the sterility of the white wall, and engages the viewers’ senses more deeply.
The idea of the river also relates very closely to any museum. A great museum or gallery will have good flow through the rooms of an exhibition. There is nothing worse than the interruption as you trek back through art you’ve already seen to see the next stage in the show, completely disrupting the narrative. It’s a given that not all exhibitions must be linear in their layout, but the river is a great way to engage with the flow of the space. When it feels like many artists (recently and in the past) have experimented with empty gallery space in the name of radical installation and institutional/spacial critique/awareness, Eliasson has actually managed to make something pleasant and engaging, while remaining questioning as well. (Via De Zeen)