Studio Olafur Eliasson's summer picnic. Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram
Studio Olafur Eliasson's summer picnic. Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram

How to picnic like Olafur Eliasson

Preparing a Fourth of July picnic? Or planning to enjoy an al-fresco meal? Then why not prepare it the Eliasson way

He installed a fake sun inside the Tate Modern, and turned a line of solar-powered torches into an international philanthropic art project, so, it shouldn’t surprise us too much to learn that the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has a fairly innovative approach towards the simple summer picnic.

As readers of our new book Studio Olafur Eliasson: The Kitchen will know, Eliasson sees food as so crucial factor within his studio, that he tries to ensure everyone enjoys a communal, mainly vegetarian lunch, prepared at the in-house kitchen.

 

Studio Olafur Eliasson's picnic jars. Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram
Studio Olafur Eliasson's picnic jars. Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram

Even when they can’t all sit down together, the studio still manages to feed everyone with its picnic jars. Eliasson and co. used these glass vessels during their The Space Activism Marathon: a three-day endurance art workshop staged in Berlin in 2010, with invited participants from around the world.

 

Studio Olafur Eliasson's picnic jar.  Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram
Studio Olafur Eliasson's picnic jar. Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram

“The idea of the workshop was to uncover perspectives for the permanent and temporary use of urban space, “ explains the artist in our new book, “and how understanding space and its usage can be a tool to make an impact on society.”

In preparation, the studio’s kitchen prepared jars filled with easy, healthy finger food, pickled eggs, potato croquettes, vegetables and tomato chili sauce, in this instance, enabling Olafur and co to turn any public space into a picnic spot.

The jars were such a success that the studio has continued to use them, preparing a set for its recent summer picnic in Berlin.

 

Studio Olafur Eliasson's marbled eggs.  Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram
Studio Olafur Eliasson's marbled eggs. Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram

This year, the jars were filled with sour cream, emmer grains, mushrooms, pickled vegetables, feta and olives. The kitchen also served kombucha, strawberries and cream, and Chinese-style marbled eggs, boiled in tea, soy, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, coriander and black pepper to give the food its mottled appearance.

 

Studio Olafur Eliasson's picnic.  Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram
Studio Olafur Eliasson's picnic. Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram

That all certainly makes a change from sandwiches or undercooked barbecue sausages, though that’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from Olafur’s studio. For more on his food and recipes order a copy of Studio Olafur Eliasson: The Kitchen.

 

Studio Olafur Eliasson's picnic.  Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram
Studio Olafur Eliasson's picnic. Image courtesy of @soe_kitchen's Instagram