• Germany's news in English

Artist Eliasson explores Berlin's urban environment in new show

AFP · 27 Apr 2010, 10:26

Published: 27 Apr 2010 10:26 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

He wowed New York with huge man-made waterfalls, drew the masses to London's Tate Modern with a giant artificial sun and is now staging his first major solo show in his adopted city, Berlin.

Eliasson, 43, is widely considered one of contemporary culture's most ambitious creators, using ingenious tricks to offer urban dwellers a new perspective on the space in which they live.

The exhibition, Inner City Out, opens Wednesday at the German capital’s Martin Gropius Bau museum, next to one of the longest remnants of the Berlin Wall.


Using light, shadows, colour, fog, mirrors and the movements of the exhibition's visitors to create their effects, the 19 installations explore Eliasson's relationship with the city where he has lived and worked since 1994.

"I first came to Berlin shortly before the Wall fell" in 1989, Eliasson told reporters. When he returned, he said the city itself quickly became his muse.

"The unpredictability at the time was very inspiring. It became a place where I could establish myself with my work."

Since then, he has become one of the hottest draws on the international museum circuit with major shows in Tokyo and London.

The 2003-2004 "Weather Project" at the Tate Modern's cavernous Turbine Hall invited visitors to interact with each other in the shadow of the "half-sun," with many banding together to create giant figures on the floor which were reflected in mirrors on the ceiling.

Two years ago, Eliasson built a spectacular open-air installation of huge waterfalls along the East River, which became a major draw for tourists and New Yorkers alike.

The German title of the Berlin show, Innen Stadt Aussen, is a play on words, meaning literally “Inside City Outside” but phonetically can be understood to mean “inside instead of outside.”

Museum director Joachim Sartorius called it "the most beautiful, most poetic exhibition" he was putting on this year. He declined to discuss the cost of the show, which was three years in the making, but called it "expensive."

Access to the first room is gained via a recreation of a Berlin sidewalk with its distinctive granite slabs.

It leads to a series of rooms adorned with curvaceous, cracked mirrors, coloured projectors and sculpted mobiles that play with the light and the movement of visitors to great effect as they slowly rotate.

The show wraps up in a disorienting room full of fog, leaving visitors groping for the walls to orient themselves as only pastel-coloured lights mark off three sections of the opaque space.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile beyond the museum walls, Eliasson has dispersed throughout the city large pieces of driftwood that washed onto the Icelandic coastline after epic journeys from Siberia and the Americas. Many of the logs have already been snapped up by collectors.

Born in Copenhagen to Icelandic parents, Eliasson was raised in Denmark and Iceland - he is a dual citizen - and divides his time between Berlin and his native city.

Asked about the possible artistic implications of the volcanic eruption that brought European air traffic to a halt this month, Eliasson described the phenomenon as "very, very beautiful."

"It produces this unbelievable bass tone," he said.

Inner City Out runs until August 9. Wednesday’s opening is free to the public.

Related links:

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd