Olafur Eliasson «Your Sun Machine» 1997.


Olafur Eliasson, Your sun machine 1, 1997
Olafur Eliasson, Your sun machine 2, 1997
Your sun machine, 1997

Many of Eliasson's works explore the relationship between the spectator and object. In Your Sun Machine from 1997 viewers entered a room which was empty apart from a large circular hole punctured in the roof. Each morning, sunlight streamed into the space through this aperture, at first creating an elliptical, then a circular outline on the walls and floor. The beam of light shifted across the room as the day progressed. The movement of the 'sun' across the room was apparently the central focus of the work, but in observing this, the viewer was reminded of his or her own position as an object, located on earth, spinning through space around the real sun.

Olafur Eliasson, Your sun machine 3, 1997
Olafur Eliasson, Your sun machine 4, 1997
Olafur Eliasson, Your sun machine 5, 1997
Olafur Eliasson, Your sun machine 6, 1997

Olafur Eliasson's artwork Your Sun Machine is characterized by sunlight coming through a hole in the roof, depicting the physical presence of the sun. The impact of Eliasson's technical set-up depends on a viewer's position in relation to the artwork. It has been compared with Eliasson's two other works, namely Beauty, The Curious Garden, and By Means of a Sudden Intuitive Realization.

When Olafur Eliasson installed Your Sun Machine at the Marc Foxx Gallery in Los Angeles in 1997, he added nothing to the space, at least nothing that wasn't in some sense already them. If anything, he subtracted from it, cutting a hole in the roof and letting the dazzling California sunlight flood in. Rematerialized as a vibrating patch on the floor, the distant celestial body became physically present; you could see it move. But Your Sun Machine was not just an artwork about the fiery body at the center of the solar system, it was also a piece about you. Things out there may appear to be moving, but, of course, it's the other way around; it's your own activities that make things appear as they do. The sun floats across the gallery floor because you yourself are traveling across the universe at an incredible speed, standing on this tiny planet of yours. Or had you forgotten that?

sources: highbeam.com, olafureliasson.net, zkm.de/eliasson, tate.org.uk
Your sun machine, 1997, installation view
Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles, 1997
© Olafur Eliasson