olafur eliasson's newly opened 'curious desert' exhibition shines in qatar

olafur eliasson's newly opened 'curious desert' exhibition shines in qatar

art 271 shares connections: +230

site-specific works for a museum in the desert

 

Qatar Museums presents The Curious Desert, an exhibition of both new and old works by Icelandic–Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. The show has opened at a site in the desert near Al Thakhira Mangrove Reserve and the National Museum of Qatar in Doha, and features new site-specific works by the Icelandic-Danish artist, showcasing his ongoing fascination with light and color, geometric studies, ecological consciousness, and relationships beyond the human realm. Both inside and outside the museum, The Curious Desert is part of Qatar Creates, a year-round national cultural initiative that curates, promotes, and celebrates the diverse range of cultural activities in Qatar. The Curious Desert is on view from from March 19th to August 15th, 2023.

olafur eliasson qatar
installation view: Olafur Eliasson: The curious desert, National Museum of Qatar, Doha, 2023
image © Ali Faisal Al Anssari, Qatar Museums, courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / LA

 

 

twelve pavilions outside the museum

 

Olafur Eliasson’s exhibition for the National Museum of Qatar will comprise twelve temporary pavilions along a site in a sabkha habitat about sixty-four kilometers northeast of Doha, close to the Al Thakhira Mangrove Reserve. The artist‘s new pavilions house a variety of new, experimental artworks that interact with the fleeting natural elements outside the museum like sunlight, wind, and water. Eliasson and Qatar Museums worked with an ecologist to conduct an extensive survey of the site near Al Thakhira to ensure the protection of its native plants and non-human inhabitants, such as the Arabian Red Fox.

 

The first three outdoor pavilions examine optical phenomena by utilizing rainbows, shadows, and mirrors to produce captivating effects. Pavilions five to seven feature innovative drawing machines that employ the elements of the sabkha habitat to develop artworks that will later be exhibited at the National Museum of Qatar. The last three pavilions connect this environment with others by incorporating materials such as obsidian and glacial mud from Iceland.

olafur eliasson qatar
Your pearl garden, Olafur Eliasson, 2023 | photo © Ali Faisal Al Anssari
image courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles

 

 

explore olafur eliasson’s desert pavilions

 

Rainbow incubator comprises eleven prisms arranged along the top of a reflective sphere according to the path of the sun at Al Thakhira. These prisms bend and break the daylight entering the sphere, causing it to appear at different times of the year as a perfectly circular rainbow.

 

Meanwhile, Saltwater-drawing observatory sees two circular canvases — one white and the other black — turn slowly on motors as water, mixed with black and white pigments respectively, drips down onto the spinning surfaces. The wind causes the drawing utensil to move across the surface of the turning page, leaving undulating marks upon the surface. The drawings, portraits of the weather conditions at the location, are then periodically shown at The National Museum of Qatar.

olafur eliasson qatar
Eye See You, Olafur Eliasson, 2006 | photo © Anders Sune Berg
image courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles

 

 

Solar incense burner is made up of a single glass sphere that uses the sun’s rays to ignite a selection of scents typical of Qatar and the region — oud, musk, and amber, among others. Each burns for exactly one hour, functioning as a clock by marking the times of day in a variety of scents. Your obsidian garden is inspired by Eliasson’s hikes through volcanic obsidian fields in the Icelandic highlands. The artworks in this pavilion features black, shiny obsidian which stand out in stark contrast to the sandy ground, appearing to have erupted from beneath the desert.

olafur eliasson qatar
Rainbow Incubator, Olafur Eliasson, 2023 | photo © Anders Sune Berg
image courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles

 

 

the museum’s indoor collection

 

Inside the National Museum of Qatar, an extensive presentation of works from throughout the artist’s career invites viewers to situate themselves anew in relation to expansive light installations, photo series from Iceland, complex geometric studies, watercolors, optical devices, and a sprawling research map.

 

A new installation, The living lighthouse, comprises broad bands of colorful light that crawl across the walls of a circular room, wrapping visitors in a vibrant, ever-changing light installation. The Research map is a sprawling pin wall that charts the research and ideas that have inspired Eliasson and his studio in recent years. The map can be seen as a space of ‘micro-storytelling,’ where seemingly unrelated contents vibrate next to each other and create new meaning.

 

Meanwhile, a photography series depicts the natural landscapes of Iceland — including The glacier melt series, 1999/2019, 2019, The inner cave series, 1998, and The horizon series, 2002 — selected by the artist with the landscape of Qatar in mind. Artworks created by drawing and painting machines are installed outdoors near the Al Thakira Mangrove Forest.

olafur eliasson qatar
The living lighthouse, Olafur Eliasson, 2023 | photo © Anders Sune Berg
image courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles

olafur-eliasson-curious-desert-exhibition-qatar-museum-designboom-06a

Algae Window, Olafur Eliasson, 2020 | photo © Anders Sune Berg
image courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles

olafur eliasson qatar-
Future eye seeing now, Olafur Eliasson, 2020 | photo © Anders Sune Berg
image courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles

olafur-eliasson-curious-desert-exhibition-qatar-museum-designboom-08a

Drawings from Saltwater-drawing observatory comprises, Olafur Eliasson, 2023 | photo © Anders Sune Berg
image courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles

 

1/6
Map for navigating memory, Olafur Eliasson, 2022 image © Anders Sune Berg, courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
Map for navigating memory, Olafur Eliasson, 2022 image © Anders Sune Berg, courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
The living lighthouse, Olafur Eliasson, 2023 | photo © Anders Sune Berg image courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
The living lighthouse, Olafur Eliasson, 2023 | photo © Anders Sune Berg image courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
installation view: Olafur Eliasson: The curious desert, National Museum of Qatar, Doha, 2023 image © Anders Sune Berg, courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
installation view: Olafur Eliasson: The curious desert, National Museum of Qatar, Doha, 2023 image © Anders Sune Berg, courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
installation view: Olafur Eliasson: The curious desert, National Museum of Qatar, Doha, 2023 image © Ali Faisal Al Anssari, courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
installation view: Olafur Eliasson: The curious desert, National Museum of Qatar, Doha, 2023 image © Ali Faisal Al Anssari, courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
Solar-drawing observatory (Large spheres), Olafur Eliasson, 2023 image © Ali Faisal Al Anssari, courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
Solar-drawing observatory (Large spheres), Olafur Eliasson, 2023 image © Ali Faisal Al Anssari, courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
Your pearl garden, Olafur Eliasson, 2023 image © Anders Sune Berg, courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
Your pearl garden, Olafur Eliasson, 2023 image © Anders Sune Berg, courtesy the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles

project info:

 

exhibition title: The Curious Desert

artist: Olafur Eliasson @studioolafureliasson

location: National Museum of Qatar, Doha | @Qatar_Museums@NMOQatar

on view: March 19th — August 15th, 2023

photography: Anders Sune Berg, Ali Faisal Al Anssari

KEEP UP WITH OUR DAILY AND WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS
suscribe on designboom
- see sample
- see sample
suscribe on designboom

happening now! croatian furniture company prostoria stands as an example of a different and more traditional approach based on the evolution from the local factuality of all actors involved in the production process. explore prostoria on designboom! 

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999
X
5