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Israel Museum Commissions New Works by Olafur Eliasson and Anish Kapoor
Installation rendering of "Whenever the Rainbow Appears", a new site-specific work by Olafur Eliasson, at the end of the "Route of Passage" leading to the Israel Museum’s new Gallery Entrance Pavilion. Image: Courtesy James Carpenter Design Associates.

JERUSALEM.- Olafur Eliasson and Anish Kapoor have been commissioned by the Israel Museum to create two new monumental installations on the Museum’s campus, as it nears completion of a comprehensive renewal and expansion, together with a complete reinstallation of all of its collection galleries. These site-specific works will be installed as focal points within the Museum’s newly re-organized campus, opening to the public on July 26, 2010.

These commissions include:

Olafur Eliasson’s installation "Whenever the Rainbow Appears", consisting of 300 individual paintings that represent in paint on canvas the progression of colors in the spectrum of light visible to the human eye. Measuring a total of 15 x 2.4 meters (or nearly 50 x 8 feet), the work reads from afar as an extended continuum of color. It will be installed at the end of the Museum’s newly designed "Route of Passage", an enclosed walkway bridging the Museum entrance with a newly centralized Gallery Entrance Pavilion at the heart of the campus.

Anish Kapoor’s site-specific sculpture of polished stainless steel that takes the shape of a 5-meter-tall (15-foot) hourglass. Anchoring the Museum’s outdoor Crown Plaza, at the highest point on its 20-acre campus, this monumental work responds to the duality of Jerusalem, inverting reflections on its curved and mirrored surface of Jerusalem’s sky and of the Museum’s built landscape.

Both works will be on view at the end of July 2010, when the Museum completes its current expansion and renewal project. Designed jointly by James Carpenter Design Associates and Efrat-Kowalsky Architects, the project is upgrading and unifying facilities on the Museum’s campus to provide visitors with an integrated experience of art, archaeology, landscape, and architecture.

“Eliasson and Kapoor are recognized for creating visually striking works that inspire engagement, interaction, and awe—and we are thrilled to be working with them on two exceptional commissions for our renewed campus,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “These new works will enhance the experience of our visitors with our unique site, setting, and architecture, while also continuing our notable history of engaging with contemporary artists.”

Olafur Eliasson, Whenever the rainbow appears (2010)
Olafur Eliasson’s site-specific installation Whenever the rainbow appears recreates the colors of the light spectrum visible to the human eye in a series of 300 hand-painted canvases, each measuring 5 x 240 cm. Extending 15 meters in length, the work is emblematic of Eliasson’s focus on the power of light in its relationship with site and setting.

Whenever the rainbow appears links two important new buildings in the Museum’s redesigned campus: the enclosed "Route of Passage", which leads visitors from the Museum’s main entry to the heart of its campus, and its new Gallery Entrance Pavilion, which provides centralized access to the Museum’s collection and exhibition galleries. From afar, Eliasson’s installation appears to be an extended continuum of color. As visitors approach the work at the terminus of the Route of Passage, the installation breaks into its individual monochromatic canvases.

Known for manipulating elemental and ephemeral materials, Eliasson works in a variety of mediums, including sculpture, photography, and—most notably—large-scale, immersive environments. Whenever the rainbow appears joins another important work by Eliasson already in the Museum’s collection, the light installation "Your Activity Horizon" (2004). Whenever the rainbow appears is a gift of Alice and Thomas Tisch, New York, on the occasion of the Museum’s 45th anniversary in 2010 and in celebration of the completion of its campus project.

Anish Kapoor, Untitled (2010)
Standing five meters high, Anish Kapoor’s site-specific commission will occupy a prominent place at the apex of Carter Promenade on the renewed Crown Plaza, the highest outdoor point on the Museum’s campus. The sculpture’s reflective surface captures both the Jerusalem sky and the landscape of the Museum’s campus, heightening awareness of these dual images by inverting them to present the sky below and the built landscape overhead. This contrast of earthly and heavenly forms evokes Jerusalem’s mythical duality, and the sculpture’s curved form resonates with the landmark architecture of the Shrine of the Book at the entrance to the Museum campus.

The sculpture’s mirrored finish and its scale are emblematic of one of the London based artist’s distinctive styles, using simple, reflective forms to embrace and engage his viewers. It represents the second of Kapoor’s works to enter the Museum’s collection, following "Black Earth" (1984).

This sculpture is commissioned in memory of Teddy Kollek, longtime Mayor of Jerusalem and the Museum’s founder, in tribute to his vision for the Museum’s site and setting.

Israel Museum | Olafur Eliasson | Anish Kapoor |

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