Red Brick Art Gallery

This was somewhere I was quite excited because it is so close to where I’m staying and I’d heard it was great. At the minute the gallery is showing the work of the artist Olafur Eliasson. Eliasson was born in 1967 and grew up in Iceland and Denmark, before moving to Berlin and founding the Studio Olafur Eliasson. Eliassons work focuses on perception, movement and experience. From my own personal perspective, I felt that his work contained strong influences of nature and the physics of the world that we live in. He aims for his work to be relevant in society, so many of them have references to sustainability and climate change.

One of the initial things that caught my attention was the sheer size and scale of the work. Eliasson’s pieces span huge spaces within the gallery and often there is a singular piece that completely dominates the space. He is also very keen on playing with light and mirrors, and several of the pieces revolves around this theme.

In the second room was a piece called water pendulum, featuring a hose suspended from the ceiling and allowed to spin and twist erratically; contorting and sending out jets of water and perfect arches; whilst strobe lights flash and illuminate the patterns of the water. The whole effect is that of a intricate, uncontrolled dance.

In another room was a light source at the centre of a metal, bird-cage like structure that cast huge shadows over the wall. The way the piece and the light it produced envelopes the whole room was particularly atmospheric. And the shadows meant you could engage with the space and play with the light and shadows. It really challenges the role we play as people in the world, and how our simple presence can alter it dramatically.

The space in the gallery also extended to the outside with a beautiful garden. I thought the whole gallery space was fantastic for an exhibition like this as the indoor and outdoor space has been utilised so well.

Overall I was so glad as I went as it helped me to discover the work of an artist who I am truly inspired by. I love the scale of the works and the fact you can immerse yourself in them. I love the clever manipulation of light and shapes; and the way he has thought about the refraction and reflection alongside this. I would definitely recommend this exhibition. It just cemented for me that China has such an exciting and diverse art scene that is definitely worth exploring.

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