Sculptor Visits His Work's New Home for the First Tine

May 2, 2014

Late last year Olafur Eliasson finished the sculpture “panoramic awareness pavilion” in his Berlin studio and in December members of his crew installed it at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines.  The work is a series of 23, 9-foot tall glass panels arranged in a circle around a light beam.  Each slab of glass is semi-reflective in color gradients from yellow, blue, to orange.  Thursday afternoon Eliasson saw his work for the first time in its permanent Iowa home during a brief ceremony conducted by the Des Moines Art Center.  As he speaks to the audience, Eliasson says the sculpture was designed so viewers can enter the center to contemplate new possibilities about themselves.  "How do we sort of focus on our horizons, the horizons of everything we know everything we expect, and then there’s everything that I do not know on the other side.  So the awareness of that I thought this is a good house a little pavilion for that sort of exercising this type of thinking.”

Olafur Eliasson talks about his sculpture “panoramic awareness pavilion” with Des Moines Art Center director Jeff Fleming. Eliasson is seeing his work in its permanent Iowa home for the first time at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park.
Credit Photo by John Pemble

Eliasson says he made this work for a public park with the intention of encouraging visitor collaboration.  "Of course I’m the artist but you know the co-author or the kinda co-creator is the person that experiences, experiences the work.  And this means the experience itself is as important as the work.The work is almost more like a, I wouldn’t say a machine but you know sort of a state set up which facilitates an experience and of course everybody has a different experience means everybody see a different work of art."

This is the 28th sculpture to be added to the park which is curated by the Des Moines Art Center.  The 4.4 acre park opened in 2009.