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    Sale 12511

    20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)

    22 October 2016, Shanghai

  • Lot 204


    Shadow Projection Lamp


    Shadow Projection Lamp
    glass disc with mirrored coating, halogen lamp, transformer, wood, metal, tripod and wire
    installation dimensions variable
    tripod with disc: 219.7 x 80 x 93.3 cm. (86 1/2 x 31 1/2 x 36 3/4 in.)
    Executed in 2004. This work is number five from an edition of ten plus two artist's proofs and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

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    Pablo Picasso once famously said, “Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand.” This statement could easily be applied to Olafur Eliasson’s artistic practice with its dedication to generating installations, photographs and sculptures that use illusion to understand reality. This simple, and yet profound, relationship between light, shadow and reflection is explored in Olafur Eliasson’s Shadow Projection Lamp. One side of a circular pane of glass has been mirrored with concentric rings, so that when exposed to the light from the lamp positioned in front of it, that light reflects off the mirrored rings to casts a pattern of concentric circles on an opposite facing wall, while the shadows of the same rings are cast on the wall behind the glass.

    The interaction of light and space as a means of engaging a viewer’s perception in Elliason’s work bears formal and conceptual resemblance to László Moholy-Nagy’s experimental light sculptures, especially the Hungarian Modernist’s Light Prop for an Electric Stage from 1930 with its large circular disk, perforated so that light may pass through it. As the philosopher Mieke Bal has elaborated, “Eliasson’s art, like Maholy-Nagy’s, makes space a coordinate of movement, compels perception to realize its dynamic nature, theatrically stages this realization by means of machinery, and activates the viewer’s participation beyond the mere act of looking “(M. Bal, “Light Politics,” in Time Your Take: Olafur Eliasson, San Francisco, 2007, p. 166). These concerns are evident in Shadow Projection Lamp and were enlarged in The Uncertain Museum, an installation from the same year in the collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, which also uses the concentric circle motif. Four disks similar to the one in this work rotate from a structure wrapped in a projection screen. Light frames both the viewers and the mirror-ringed glass to cast an organic and spontaneous choreography of shadow and silhouette. In this way, Eliasson’s Shadow Projection Lamp reinterprets with a variety of shadow, light and projected related technologies of the nineteenth and early twentieth century when Modernists Picasso and Moholy-Nagy were at work, including engages with a range the shadow play of the ombres françaises, the magic lantern as an early prototype of the projector, the panorama as a precursor to the cinema.

    Special Notice

    This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When auctioned, such property will remain under “bond” with the applicable import customs duties and taxes being deferred unless and until the property is brought into free circulation in the PRC. Prospective buyers are reminded that after paying for such lots in full and cleared funds, if they wish to import the lots into the PRC, they will be responsible for and will have to pay the applicable import customs duties and taxes. The rates of import customs duty and tax are based on the value of the goods and the relevant customs regulations and classifications in force at the time of import.


    Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
    Private collection, acquired from the above
    Anon. sale; Christie’s, New York, 13 November 2013, lot 548
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


    Aspen Art Museum, I Only See Things When They Move, August-October 2004 (another example exhibited).
    Lunds Konsthall, The Light Setup, September 2005-January 2006 (another example exhibited).
    Berlin, Aedes am Pfefferberg, A Laboratory of Mediating Space, June-July 2006 (another example exhibited).
    Centre Cultural de Caixa Girona - Fontana d'Or, Olafur Eliasson: The Nature of Things, July-September 2008, pp. 174-175 (another example exhibited).