Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Your Black Horizon

Art is supposed to be an all encompassing sensory experience. When I came across Olafur Eliasson's 'Model of a Timeless Garden' this year it overloaded the eyes whilat delighting the ears and fingers (yes I touched the installation!). By stripping the colour from a renaissance fountain, it became an elemental fantasy where water was trapped in time.

Art could not have been further from my mind when briefly stopping off on the Croatian island of Lopud. A contemporary black sign pointing off the main promenade inland caught my eye. It said Olafur Eliasson and David Adjaye 'Your black horizon'. Immediately I was taken back to his monochromatic fountains, my interest piqued.

Following the hot dusty path up to the art pavilion, potable water could only be imagined; cactus flowers coloured the ground, insects flooded the sky. Here was the timeless garden indeed. A modern wooden construction offered shelter and in we went. The space could be any London gallery, fresh painted wood creaked and black curtains ensured darkness within. An inclined walkway lead into a black square, icy cold room. A line of light at my eye level went uninterrupted all the way round, giving the illusion the room was circular. 

As the eyes adjusted, you lost yourself looking into the horizon and as time passed the colour changed with the rising and setting sun; from yellows into orange, red, turquoise and deep blue. The white in contrast then seemed to fill the space. The heat and light outside was forgotten, just the cool inner focus remained. 

This installation, like his other one, uses light to focus on the very small to illustrate the bigger picture. The fountains stopped time, whilst this one seemed to capture space. Incredibly, when you emerged from the darkness, blinking, the blue and green horizon seemed very small and claustrophobic. 

So to return to the idea of the immersive experience, there can no better place to see contemporary art than on a tiny sun drenched island. Firstly there is no competing white cube space; secondly this would be stand out piece in London. Finally, the extremes of heat, light, dryness affect your perception and reception of the art.  

From June 15-Sept 29 2013, Lopud, Dubrovnik 

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