Olafur Eliasson and Ma Yansong, Feelings are Facts to Bejing, UCCA

The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) presents the exhibition “Feelings are Facts” from April 3 to 20 June 20, 2010, the first collaboration between Olafur Eliasson, the Danish-Icelandic artist, and Ma Yansong, one of the most prolific Chinese architects.

The two artists have created an installation specially conceived for the of UCCA’s Big Hall, uniting architecture, light and fog.

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art is a non profit, comprehensive art center founded in Beijing by collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens in November 2007.

Eliasson is known for his exploration of human perception, and he often works with light, shadows, color, water, wind, or fog to create a specific environment in order to move us to think about our experience of our surroundings – perceptions we usually take to be self-evident.

Perfectionist Ma’s architecture stands at the forefront of new experimentation in building structures, refashioning staus quo form.

Their collaboration invites the audience to enter an endless space of fog, with color emanating from fluorescent tubes of red, green and blue. By moving through the space, the colors blend, and so the viewers will endlessly create their own color spectrums.

In Feelings are facts, Olafur Eliasson and Ma Yansong challenge our everyday patterns of spatial orientation, thereby suggesting the need to invent new models for perception. The installation was specially crafted to fit the Big Hall of the UCCA, the dimensions of which were altered by substantially lowering the ceiling and constructing an inclined wooden floor.

“UCCA is proud to present Feelings are facts, an exhibition which catalyzes a dynamic cross-fertilization between art and architecture. The final result is born of a unique collaboration between Eliasson and Ma. This breathtaking installation promises to transport the viewer on a journey which reverses his normal art experience. Here the spectator, rather than simply viewing an art object from the outside, surprisingly witnesses himself becoming an integral part of the artwork. The viewer enters a world of extra-sensorial perception whereby color, light and architecture enable him to re-evaluate his relationship with his surroundings,” says UCCA Director, Jérôme Sans.

Basing this project on a series of previous experiments with atmospheric density, Eliasson introduces condensed banks of artificially produced fog into the gallery. Hundreds of fluorescent lights are installed in the ceiling as a grid of red, green, and blue zones.

By permeating the fog, these lights create colored walk-through spaces that, in Eliasson’s words, function to ‘make the volume of the space explicit’. The colored zones introduce a scale of measurement in the gallery, their varying size and organization referencing urban-planning grids.

At each color boundary, two hues blend to create transitional slivers of cyan, magenta, or yellow, and so the visitors will create their own unique color spectrum when making their way through this seemingly endless space.

The artists use this structural marvel to present inquiries into the nature of reality. What should be the basis of our thinking and judgement in a space where reality and illusion interconnect?

Olafur Eliasson is a Danish-Icelandic artist living in Copenhagen and Berlin. Upon completing his studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1995, Eliasson established Studio Olafur Eliasson in Berlin. His Berlin studio today numbers around thirty craftsmen, architects, geometrists, art historians, and other cultural workers.

In his studio, light, color, and natural phenomena such as fog and waves are used to test how physical movement, sensual engagement, and the interaction of body and brain influence our perception of our environment.

Eliasson represented Denmark at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003 and later that year installed The Weather Project in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, London. In 2006, on the occasion of the reopening of Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Eliasson realised a special commission for the façade on the Grand Canal: Your Wave is. Take your time, a survey exhibition organised by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2007, travelled to several venues in the United States and is currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Feelings are facts is the first time Eliasson has worked with Chinese architect Ma Yansong and is his first exhibition in China.

Ma Yansong, originally from Beijing, received his Master of Architecture from the Yale University School of Architecture in 2002. Prior to founding MAD in 2004, Ma worked as a project designer with Zaha Hadid Architects in London and Eisenman Architects in New York.

Ma’s work has been exhibited internationally. Two of his projects WTC Rebuilt – “Floating Island” and “Fish tank” were featured at the Beijing Architectural Biennale and the National Art Museum of China in 2004.

UCCA address:

798 Art District, No.4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, P.O. Box 8503, Chaoyang District, Beijing, P.R.China, 100015
Tel: +86 (0) 10 8459 9269/8459 9387
Fax: +86 (0) 10 8459 9717