Socialist Worker

A ‘climate emergency show’ that’s well worth seeing

by Nick Grant
Issue No. 2663

Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson


Tate Modern’s retrospective of Olafur Eliasson’s work is a breath of artistic fresh air.

Eliasson heads up a multi-disciplinary Berlin-based team whose work is radical in so many ways.

Its reference points are our real lives, not consciously commenting about other art, any individual’s private obsessions or obscure techniques. Its experiments and working methods open and close the route of this show.

Brand Eliasson is keen on geometrical forms, the natural world and experiential settings—indeed our whole environment. It has even taken over the café with its branded menu.

Readers may already know of the 2003 Sun installation in the Tate’s turbine hall space.

Last December’s ring of Greenland ice blocks were imported and left to melt outside its entrance. They gave off the trapped air of thousands of years before today’s global warming as they melted by January.

There are more than 40 exhibits made since 1990 on show here in darkened rooms or inside a 39-metre long tunnel. They include water, mist, fog, dramatic lighting and acts of seeing via reflective surfaces.

You can view a Fog Couch, a Cold Wind Sphere, a Glacial Spherical Flare, a Moss Wall, a Big Bang Fountain and a Stardust Particle.

Eliasson’s Icelandic and Danish heritage is relevant to some works such as No Nights In Summer/No Days In Winter and I Grew Up In Silence and Solitude.

The landscapes and weather of his youth have clearly been influential, though he was also a teen breakdancer.

Despite the £16 ticket price and all of the Tate’s corporate ties, this is a climate emergency show deserving of everyone’s enjoyment.

Olafur Eliasson—in real life. At Tate Modern in London until 5 January

tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0006mqv


Govanhill festival and carnival

The third Govanhill interenational festival takes place in Glasgow next month. Initially set up to tackle racism, the event celebrates Govanhill’s cultural diversity.

This year’s festival includes music, plays, film screenings, art workshops, guided walks, book launches and debates, as well as Britain’s first ever Roma film festival.

Govanhill Baths, 126 Calder St, Glasgow G42 7QP.

From 1 to 11 August. For details, go to govanhillbaths.com/festival


Homesick—why I live in a shed

Soaring rents and a desire to avoid a boring, meaningless job pushed writer and songwriter Catrina Davies out of a shared house in Bristol and into a Cornwall shed.

Her book is about her own situation and the battle to make ends meet, but also reflects on whether it is possible to live “outside” the system.

by Catrina Davies, out now.

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