Olafur Eliasson creates new work as part of Serpentine's Back to Earth initiative

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Olafur Eliasson creates new work as part of Serpentine's Back to Earth initiative
Olafur Eliasson, Earth perspectives, 2020. The Earth viewed over the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

LONDON.- The commission is a response to the Serpentine’s 50th anniversary Back to Earth programme, inviting leading artists, musicians, architects, poets, filmmakers, scientists, thinkers and designers to propose artworks and projects that are also a call to action in response to the climate emergency. Back to Earth runs throughout the Serpentine’s programmes onsite, offsite and online in 2020 and beyond.

Olafur Eliasson has created a series of nine images of the Earth, each of which has been abstracted by turning the planet on a different axis. Each image also denotes a particular spot on Earth with a “dot”. If a viewer stares at the dot for about ten seconds and then trains their focus onto a blank surface, an afterimage appears in the complementary colours of Eliasson’s visual - the viewer literally projects a new world view.

The first image was unveiled on Instagram with eight further images posted subsequently every hour, each one a different view of the planet. The artwork will also be available for download at olafureliasson.net, serpentinegalleries.org and the Bloomberg Connects app.

The work explores how maps, space and the earth itself are all to a certain extent construction, which we all have the power to see from other perspectives, whether individually or collectively.

Olafur Eliasson’s relationship with the Serpentine dates to his commission for the Serpentine Pavilion made with Kjetil Thorsen in 2007 and his participation in the Experiment Marathon that autumn.

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director and Bettina Korek, Chief Executive, Serpentine Galleries said: “For our 50th anniversary programme, we have invited artists, thinkers, designers and architects from across the world to create works that respond to the climate emergency. Ecology is an integral component of the Serpentine’s history, and very much of our present, as well, as we now exist in a society adapting to a world changed by coronavirus. We must look to artists for guidance on how to shape the future and we are honoured that Olafur Eliasson has produced a new work for Back to Earth.”

Olafur Eliasson said: “Today, ‘the world as we know it' is a phrase of the past. The current health crisis has brought our societies close to a halt, affecting our economies, our freedoms and even our social ties. We must take the time to empathise with all those struck by the crisis and also seize this opportunity to imagine together the earth that we want to inhabit in the future - in all its wonders and beauty, in the face of all the challenges ahead of us.

Earth perspectives envisions the earth we want to live on together by welcoming multiple perspectives – not only human perspectives but also those of plants, animals, and nature. A glacier’s perspective deviates from that of a human. The same goes for a river. On Earth Day, I want to advocate – as on any other day – that we recognise these various perspectives and, together, celebrate their co-existence.”

Olafur Eliasson originally conceived one Earth perspective map for the magazine Real Review.

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