Looking up also means looking down and sideways in the latest installation by artist Olafur Eliasson (previously). Opened this week at the Northern Heritage sites near Doha, Qatar, a cluster of large mirrors and rings made of steel and fiberglass stand on the dry desert landscape amongst shrubs and the remnants of animals that have passed through. Towering meters above the sandy terrain, “Shadows travelling on the sea of the day” allows visitors to wander underneath the glass surfaces and peer upwards at their reflections and that of the landscape, shrouding each figure in an endless swath of dusty earth.
“It is a kind of reality check of your connectedness to the ground,” Eliasson says in a statement about the project. “You are at once standing firmly on the sand and hanging, head down, from a ground that is far above you. You will probably switch back and forth between a first-person perspective and a destabilising, third-person point of view of yourself.”
The remote installation also groups the mirrors so that they reflect their semicircular support structures in addition to those nearby, “creating a sea of interconnections,'” the artist says. “Reflection becomes virtual composition, changing as you move. What you perceive—an entanglement of landscape, sprawling sculptural elements, and visitors—seems hyperreal while still completely grounded.” This connection serves as an urgent visual metaphor for humanity’s need to grasp its relationship to the earth as it confronts the climate crisis and attempts to find new paths for coexisting with the natural world.
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