Olafur Eliasson, creator of the acclaimed Turbine Hall commission The weather project 2003, has made a new a new series of paintings responding to the work of JMW Turner (1775-1851). Turner colour experiments will demonstrate Turner's continued relevance to and fascination for artists today and will coincide with Tate Britain’s major autumn exhibition, The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free. The new works will be unveiled at Tate Britain on 25 August 2014.
Olafur Eliasson (b.1967) has been concerned with the perception of light and colour throughout his career. His interest in exploring the ephemeral qualities of natural phenomena is also a subject which unites him with Turner – the historic master of these themes.
In this series of new works, Eliasson has explored a selection of seven paintings by Turner, investigating the artist’s use of light and colour by abstracting the hues of the paintings into dynamic colour studies. These new works relate to an ongoing series of Colour experiment paintings begun in 2009, which saw Eliasson working with a chemist to mix a paint colour for each nanometre of light in the visible spectrum. Each work in the series of seven oil paintings is unique and explores Turner’s obsession with light and colour.
The new display will be presented within the Clore Gallery, the permanent home of the Turner Bequest. Eliasson’s paintings reference a group of works that span Turner’s long career. A number of these will be on view in The EY Exhibition: Late Turner – Painting Set Free, the first major exhibition to survey the celebrated body of work Turner created during his final period (1835-50). These works include The Burning of the House of Lords and Commons, 16th October 1834, 1834-5 (Philadelphia Museum of Art) and Peace – Burial at Sea exh. 1842 (Tate).
Olafur Eliasson says: ’Turner's ability to shape and frame light in his paintings has had a significant impact on my work. I have long focused on ephemera to explore notions of transformation, movement, and atmosphere, and how our sense of self is something not necessarily solid and stable, but evolving through our many exchanges with others and with the world. In the Turner colour experiments, I’ve isolated light and colour in Turner’s works in order to extract his sense of ephemera from the objects of desire that his paintings have become. The schematic arrays of colours on round canvases generate a feeling of endlessness and allow the viewer to take in the artwork in a decentralised, meandering way.’
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson was born in 1967 in Copenhagen, where he attended the Royal Academy of Arts and is based in Berlin. His work has been exhibited extensively internationally. Eliasson's Turbine Hall commission The weather project was shown at Tate Modern in 2003, where he also launched the project Little Sun in 2012. Eliasson’s new paintings will be on display at in the Clore Galleries of Tate Britain from 25 August – 25 January 2015. The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Jacklin, Tate Britain and Lizzie Carey-Thomas, Tate Britain.