Danny on Olafur Eliasson at Tate Modern

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You may have heard about an exhibition taking pace at Tate Modern at the moment. Yes, Olafur Eliasson’s In Real Life. The Danish-Icelandic artist is known for his large-scale installations, often working with architects, engineers and scientists to create them. This show has been getting glowing reviews all over the media since it opened in July. So you probably think you’ve heard all you need to hear, and we would have agreed with you, with no intention of mentioning it here. Then we heard Danny Sangra had visited it, and we thought, okay, maybe there is one unique perspective we would be interested in. That’s why we grabbed Danny and asked him what he made of it.

Did you know much about Eliasson’s work before this exhibition?

I didn’t know tons, just the basics, but that was enough to know I didn’t want to miss the exhibition. 

Did you go to see ‘The weather project’, his giant sun installation at the Turbine Hall in 2003?

I did. The Turbine Hall is such a specific space and it made it feel truly epic. 

Did something immediately appeal to you about Eliasson’s art?

For me, it’s really the light. The chance to be placed in a unique environment like that. These installations, when you are in them, feel cinematic to me.

What were your first impressions of ‘In Real Life’?

The weather project felt like an experience that could put me in a meditative state, movement wasn’t necessary. However, the new show felt a little more immersive, scenes/environments that you moved through.

Was it what you expected?

Pretty much, but I mean that in a good way. However, these days, everyone posts stuff about exhibitions, so you kind of already know what you are getting into, and I mean that in a bad way. 

Do you like art that you can directly interact with?

I do, but some of it can be too much of a gimmick. Some exhibitions can feel like walking through a theme park of crap to take photos of, and cheap tricks. 

The pieces I prefer are the ones that change my mood and have the ability to take me out of the present. 

Did you have a particular favourite piece in this exhibition?

The corridor of mist and colour, I don’t know the name of it. 

Will you be making a return visit?

Possibly, but it’s rare I visit a major exhibition twice. You can’t repeat that initial reaction and surprise. 

Do you have any tips on what to look out for, for potential future visitors?

The water splash flash is hypnotic. 

Has going to the exhibition provided you with further inspiration?

Of course. Most exhibitions I find inspiring in some way. Even bad ones can spark ideas. 

Have you ever considered making an installation on a vast scale? Or working in a more architectural form?

I’ve always thought about that. I did a large installation piece in my Los Angeles show but I would love to really create a whole environment and experience. 

Olafur Eliasson’s ‘In Real Life’ is at Tate Modern until 5 January 2020.

Images provided by the Tate Modern.