Olafur Eliasson

Kunsthalle Basel

Parks and gardens have long been an important index of man’s relationship to nature. Today some artists, in rather naive fashion, seem to be trying to restore an imaginary wilderness using the latest technology. But how would a garden look if it highlighted its own artificiality while leaving nature’s “otherness” intact? One could look for an answer in Olafur Eliasson’s recent piece The Curious Garden, 1997, a trio of installations that addressed three different forms of sensory perception.

The first and largest room was entirely empty, but it was suffused with a strange orange-yellow light streaming in through the glass roof. Used, among other things, to sharpen optical contrasts on the Autobahn, this form of artificial light bleaches objects of color, so that whoever found himself in this unreal space of pure light and dark contrasts couldn’t help trying to imagine the lost colors. As in

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