Critics’ Picks

Modelroom. Installation view.

Modelroom. Installation view.

New York

Olafur Eliasson

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
521 West 21st Street
April 26–June 14, 2003

If R. Buckminster Fuller had been an artist and not an architect, a conceptualist and not a visionary, this is what his laboratory might have looked like. Olafur Eliasson's Modelroom, 2003, is a configuration of plywood shelves whose trapezoidal compartments are stuffed with the sort of geometric forms that inspired Fuller's most extraordinary designs. These fivefold symmetries, endless doughnuts, and kaleidoscopes have informed Eliasson's studies of space and its construction; and his maquettes, fashioned from familiar materials like cardboard, aluminum foil, and chicken wire, are genial and pleasantly puzzling. The adjacent installation, Plane Scanner, 2003, provides the kind of disorienting spatial experience only hinted at by the models. In a darkened room, two beams of light containing all the colors of the spectrum crisscross the ceiling and walls, reconfiguring the structure of the space. Caught unexpectedly within this prism, viewers may feel as if one of Modelroom's brainteasers had opened up and swallowed them.