Olafur Eliasson

The hidden story in Olafur Eliasson’s new book

Here’s why the world-famous artist hopes Olafur Eliasson: Experience will help him reach a new audience

The art world can be tricky to navigate at times. And, while some artists’ books help readers understand hard-to-grasp movements and concepts, others seem to end up turning off all but a small, inner coterie.

Olafur Eliasson has not made this kind of book. Instead, this popular, approachable artist, whom you are as likely to see on the cover of Wired as on the front page of The Art Newspaper, has worked hard to show how all the pieces in his new Phaidon book, Olafur Eliasson: Experience, tie together.

The book contains pretty much all his work, from his tiny exhibitions staged in Copenhagen back in the 1990s, through to his huge 2003 Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern, The Weather Project, right up to his more recent projects, which branch out into architecture, philanthropy and climate-change activism.


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Catch a little coverage of these in the arts press, and you might understand how this all fits into the greater gallery system. Yet, if you read about them in sequence, in the new book, Eliasson says, can enjoy a much more approachable emotional engagement with his art.

“I wanted to reach out to an audience that is larger than the traditional art audience,” says Eliasson in his video. “This book addresses a wider audience, and also draws on a more emotional narrative between the different artistic things I have been working on.

“If you look at my work over time you see an evolution as you flip through the book you realise ‘oh, it’s actually all connected, it’s all related,” he says. “So there’s a little, inner story in the book. I’m very excited about that.”


 Olafur Eliasson: Experience
Olafur Eliasson: Experience

To pick out that inner story in this large, beautiful new title, order a copy of Olafur Eliasson: Experience here.