Olafur Eliasson is a Danish-Icelandic artist who I first encountered when he created an installation piece about the weather in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. He has a huge studio in Berlin which employs many crafts people and technicians to produce his latest pieces.
Olafur’s work frequently deals with light and ephemeral materials so it is not surprising that he has made quite a few pieces about colour and the spectrum. Some of his experiments have looked at pigments and the colour palettes used by Turner. In these Colour Experiments Olafur worked with a chemist to match the exact colours in the light spectrum (additive colour) but in a pigment form. So turning colour into a colorant. He then created spectral discs of colour based on the colour palettes from key Turner paintings.
Olafur has continued this experimentation with the ‘visible spectrum’ to produce further works which organise and catalogue colour. Many of the resulting works wouldn’t look out of place in an exhibition of colour theory diagrams and in many ways that is what Olafur is depicting, his own colour theories and solutions. In addition to pigment, glass and light are used to explore colour make up. A series titled ‘Your uncertain’ uses lights and the interaction of the viewer to cast shadows and colours across the white walls of the gallery space. Another seriees ‘Your atmosphere’ uses coloured fogs to mix hues, similar to Ann Veronica Janssen’s work at the Wellcome Trust, and described by Olafur as a way of navigating your own intuitive colour atlas.