A river runs through it: Instead of the tile floor normally underfoot at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, Denmark, slick rocks and a babbling stream carpet the south wing of the acclaimed art institution. The installation, imagined by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, forces visitors to forge their own route through the galleries. Ever site-specific in his inspiration, Eliasson references the history of the museum, universally lauded for its synthesis of art, architecture and landscape, and specifically, the history of the southern wing itself – a slope once home to a sculpture garden but since subsumed by structural expansion. Not simply transplanting nature indoors, Riverbed makes the museum a landscape, transforming the visitor’s experience into more than an encounter, more like an adventure.
“What I’m interested in with my work at the Louisiana isn’t really that you experience an object or an artwork. I am interested in how you connect this landscape to the rest of the world and ultimately, how you experience yourself within it,” Eliasson said. “When we’re in our familiar surroundings, in our circle of family and friends, our senses are very finely tuned, but the further away we get from the local context, the cruder the sensing becomes. I wonder if our focus on the atmospheric can give us a relationship with something that is very abstract and far away.”
Similarly site-specific, jewelry artists Gerda and Nikolai Monies make statement pieces from rare natural materials, including stones they find on Danish beaches. Like the Louisiana itself, the Monies workshop overlooks the Copenhagen harbor. I am haunted by waters.