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Colour experiment no. 15 (large inside spiral)

Colour experiment no. 15 (large inside spiral)
signed, titled and dated ‘Olafur Eliasson 2010 Colour experiment no. 15 (large inside spiral)’ (on the reverse)
oil on canvas laid on board
diameter: 39 1/8in. (99.5cm.)
Executed in 2010
neugerriemschneider, Berlin.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2010.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay

Spanning almost a metre in width, Olafur Eliasson’s Colour experiment no 15 (large inside spiral) radiates prismatic colour. Like a colour wheel, the large circular canvas contains a luminescent rainbow which unfurls outward from a central opening; its shimmering hues appear to generate their own brilliant light. Colour experiment No 15 (large inside spiral) is an early work from Eliasson’s series of 'Colour experiments', which he began in 2009. Created in close collaboration with a chemist who mixed paints that reflect each nanometre of light, these circular paintings offer a new colour theory. Describing the series, Eliasson reflected that the works ‘deal with the translation of light into pigment, which of course has long been one of the central concerns of painting in general …. The circular shape, I feel, generates a feeling of endlessness, and allows viewers to take in the artworks in a decentralised, meandering way’ (O. Eliasson, quoted in E. W. Almino, ‘Olafur Eliasson on Turning Light into Colour’, Hyperallergic, 14 January 2015). For Eliasson, who has long investigated the properties of light through his installations and photographs, Colour experiment No 15 presents a continuation of his central thematic, explored here in luminous colour.

Eliasson, who is the subject of three solo exhibitions this year, at the Fondation Beyeler, Basel, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and at Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art, has long been fascinated by natural phenomena. His ongoing investigation of scientific questions using aesthetic frameworks has produced a sensorial and corporeal art that alters its viewer’s perceptions. Indeed, any encounter with an Eliasson incorporates the viewer into the artwork: as critic Adrian Searle writes, ‘Eliasson’s art … is intended to make us aware of our bodily presence’ (A Searle, ‘Olafur Eliasson review – art’s weatherman fogs up Tate Modern’, The Guardian, 9 July 2019). The scale of Colour experiment No 15 (large inside spiral) renders chromatic relations life-sized, creating a chromatic cascade that is hypnotic and enthralling. To stand before the canvas is to be consumed by colour.

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