A daily flood of images tends to dull our senses; in a museum, we often take just a few seconds to contemplate a work of art. The Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson attempts to counteract such perceptual desensitization through his latest project: with Your exhibition guide, Eliasson encourages users to take in their environments whether in a museum or in everyday life in fresh ways. We are called upon to experience encounters with art in unfamiliar and fundamentally different ways. While a typical exhibition guide supplies viewers with information and answers to anticipated queries, Eliasson poses problems and invites art lovers to trust their own senses (K20, April 5 August 10, 2014). In addition to an app, the project consists of a large installation in the spacious Grabbe Halle of the K20.
Eliasson developed his provocative stimulus to thought for museum visitors in collaboration with the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
and in close coordination with the exhibition Kandinsky, Malevich, Mondrian: The Infinite White Abyss , which explores the significance of the color white in the works of three avant-garde painters (K20, Klee Halle, April 5 July 6, 2014).
Initially conceived for the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf on the occasion of the Quadriennale Düsseldorf 2014, Eliassons exercises in sensitization for art-lovers is available as the app Your exhibition guide free of charge, and can therefore be used in the future at other museums and art institutions around the world.
In 11 brief films and an introduction, Eliasson addresses the viewer directly in his exhibition guide: How does it feel to break with habitual patterns of vision? What if the artworks werent art? What can be achieved by a radical shift of perspective for example the image of floating through the museum like an asteroid?
Ive developed the exercises in this app specifically for exhibitions. Exhibitions offer a great setting for exploring all of your senses. If you like the exercises they may help you practise seeing yourself seeing, feeling yourself feeling and by doing so, you may be able to amplify the greater potential that an artwork offers, says Eliasson.
For Eliasson and for us, it was a question of using the resources of modern communication technologies to open up the traditional space of the museum even worldwide. I regard our collaborative project on the exhibition guide as a genuine contribution to a discussion about the future of the museum as an institution, explains Marion Ackermann, Director of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. Its very important to sensitize people to the finest nuances of perception first of all in relation to art, and then in relation to the world at large.
As a further component of Dein Ausstellungsguide (Your exhibition guide), Eliasson is exhibiting his installation Your museum primer in the spacious Grabbe Halle of the K20. Revolving here in the darkened gallery is a prismatic ring that is illuminated by a single beam of light, causing circles and arcs of light now in white, now in the various spectral colors to wander across the walls.
Your exhibition guide can be downloaded to smartphones or computers free of charge from the App Store or from Google Play for the system software iOS or Android. Moreover, visitors to the K20 can borrow iPads for their exhibition visits. As a preview, excerpts of the app will be published on #32, the new online magazine of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen.
Eliassons project Dein Ausstellungsguide is a part of the LABOR program of the Department of Education at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, and is sponsored by the Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf and the Sparkassen Kulturstiftung Rheinland.