Olafur Eliasson – In Real Life review: An interactive, sensory journey through colours and tricks
One of the most popular art exhibitions in London this year has been Olafur Eliasson at the Tate Modern. His ‘In Real Life’ exhibition invites visitors to interact with and change their environments. I previously saw his giant sun for his Weather Project installation in the Tate’s Turbine Hall 16 years ago and really loved it. I had seen clips of what to expected on Instagram so went along to pay a visit to In Real Life last month.
His series of installations allow you to become more aware of your senses and the space around you. Some were playful and entertaining, while others were confusing or even headache-inducing. Many used reflections, shadows and light to change your perception of your reality. One of the first pieces you come across is ‘Moss Wall’ – a huge wall of Icelandic reindeer moss which invites you to reach out and touch.
We moved on to ‘Beauty’ – an indoor rain room with light trickery creating flickers of rainbow colours with the water appearing to ‘dance’ in front of you. A similar sensation came from ‘Your Spiral View’ – a moving installation which allows people to walk through a giant kaleidoscope with mirrors bouncing the light off as it rotates.
One of the most popular pieces was ‘Your Uncertain Shadow’, a colourful projection of shadows allowing you to see multiple versions of yourself. I thought it was a clever and fun piece, although at times the room was so busy the colourful shadows weren’t as fluid as you would hope.
The biggest installation in the exhibition was the ambitious and disorientating ‘Your Blind Passenger’. A 45 metre space has been turned into a tunnel of evolving, colourful fog, with a restricted number of people allowed to walk through at a time. The depth of fog varied at different parts as I struggled to find my nearby companion at first, before it lifted slightly allowing me to find him and others in the room. I found myself taking cautious steps as I was wary of bumping into an unexpected human.
Overall, it was an enjoyable exhibition and provided plenty of photo moments. As expected, it’s incredibly popular and busy, so you may find yourself queuing for entry to certain installations – especially Your Blind Passenger. Check it out while you can.
- Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life is on until 5 January 2020. At the Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest station: Blackfriars. Tickets: £18 (free for members). For more information and tickets, visit the Tate Modern website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in January 2020, click here.