olafur eliasson's seeing spheres create multilayered, reflected spaces in san francisco

olafur eliasson's seeing spheres create multilayered, reflected spaces in san francisco

heralded as one of the most influential artists of his generation, olafur eliasson unveils his first permanent public artwork on the west coast of the united states. located at the golden state warriors and chase centre in san francisco, seeing spheres, 2019, consists of five fifteen-and-a-half-feet-tall polished hydro-formed steel spheres that stand in a circle around a central space.

olafur eliasson seeing spheres create an environment of multilayered, reflected spaces



‘seeing spheres is a public space that contains you and contains multitudes,’ comments eliasson. ‘we often think of public space as empty, negative space in the city, viewed from a car or crossed on the way to somewhere else. seeing spheres offers a place to pause, where you see yourself from the outside, as a participant in society.’

olafur eliasson seeing spheres create an environment of multilayered, reflected spaces



each of olafur eliasson’s seeing spheres supports a flat, circular mirrored face, framed by a ring of LED lights, which is oriented inward to reflect the mirrored faces of the surrounding spheres. together they produce a surprising environment of multilayered, reflected spaces in which the same people and settings appear again and again, visible from various unexpected angles. tunnel-like sets of nested reflections open up in the mirrors, repeating countless times and disappearing into the distance.

olafur eliasson seeing spheres create an environment of multilayered, reflected spaces



the artist frequently uses mirrors to expand spaces and create a subtle and playful sense of spatial confusion that stimulates awareness of our bodies and perception. seeing spheres enables viewers to see themselves from the outside, as co-participants in the shared world that appears within the layers of virtual space conjured by the cluster of giant mirrors. the artwork heightens visitors’ awareness of themselves and their surroundings, exemplifying art’s potential to, in eliasson’s words, ‘rain our capacities for perceiving and interpreting the world.’


situated on chase center’s 25,000 square foot triangular plaza in front of the east entrance to the arena, this striking new artwork establishes a prominent public setting in the city for visitors to meet and interact.



project info:


project name: seeing spheres
artist: olafur eliasson
location: chase center, san francisco, california

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