We Only Meet When We Move

Olafur Eliasson

Copenhagen, Denmark, 1967
  • Date: 
  • Material: 
    Steel, glass, electric motor and halogen light
  • Descriptive technique: 
    Light installation consisting of an HMI halogen spotlight with a steady stream of light that illuminates a glass cylinder and twelve colour filters over a tripod, moved by sixteen electric motors
  • Dimensions: 
    Variable dimensions
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The work of Olafur Eliasson explores the boundaries between art, science and nature. After 1998, the year of his multi-location project Green River, his work focused on resources and feelings produced by nature. Part of his work approached the conceptualism of Earth Art, while another part had a more scenographic complexity, leaning towards the construction of environments that generate a range of sensory effects by means of mechanisms of architecture and light, such as The Weather Project, shown at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2003. The work entitled We Only Meet When We Move (2004) was a consequence of The Weather Project, but in its centre is a slowly turning lamp with a glass cylinder and successive coloured filters that cast floating, changing fields of colour onto the walls of the room. The colour floods the space and pre-empts the viewer’s movements. The work seeks to oblige phenomenological experience and spatial awareness in the viewer by appealing to the eye’s sensitivity to light as a way of relating to the other and to the surroundings, as suggested by the title of the piece, which serves as a kind of maxim for what the installation is saying; that “we only meet when we move.”

Carmen Fernández Aparicio