Art rarely gets as gritty and real as this, particularly in a gallery, with rocks, earth and water running through simple doors, between white-walled rooms and under uniform interior lighting.
Olafur Eliasson, a Danish and Icelandic artist, created Riverbed as one of a series of installations for the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, challenging visitors to experience both museums and landscapes in new ways.
Meanwhile, the spaces become both intimate and perhaps uncomfortable as the earthwork slopes upward into ultimately-inaccessible areas.
The artist explains: “What I’m interested in with my work at the Louisiana isn’t really that you experience an object or an artwork. I am interested in how you connect this landscape to the rest of the world and ultimately, how you experience yourself within it.”
Traditional floor tiles slowly give way to a rugged landscape of stones and dirt, leading up to the sides of a real river inexplicably traversing the gallery interior.
Aside from other references, the work is a nod to the sculpture garden that used to sit in the same spaces where this section of interior galleries now stands.
“When we’re in our familiar surroundings, in our circle of family and friends, our senses are very finely tuned, but the further away we get from the local context, the cruder the sensing becomes. I wonder if our focus on the atmospheric can give us a relationship with something that is very abstract and far away.” (Images by Anders Sune Berg)