Olafur Eliasson fills modern art museum
with "giant landscape" of rocks


For his first solo exhibition at Denmark's Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has filled an entire wing with a landscape of stones meant to emulate a riverbed (+ slideshow).


Described as a "stress-test of Louisiana's physical capacity" the installation by Olafur Eliasson, part of an exhibition titled Riverbed, is a staged imitation of a natural landscape within the walls of one of Denmark's important Modernist buildings.

Occupying a site on the sea shore in Humlebæk, north of Copenhagen, Louisiana was originally designed in 1958 by architects Jørgen Bo and Wilhlem Wohlert and has since had seven extensions and alterations carried out by the same architects.


"Since the beginning of the collaboration it has been clear that a solo exhibition of Eliasson's work at Louisiana would inevitably be a radical, site-specific exhibition dealing with the reality of the museum as an institution and physical locality," said a statement from the museum.

"Movement through the space at Humblebaek has always been at the heart of the experience – the architects have made sure of that, and Eliasson wishes to profile this as the most important feature in Louisiana."


Visitors can walk on the rocky surface, which slopes up towards the sides of a series of rooms that make up the museum's south wing. A narrow path running through the spaces has been filled with water to recreate the trickle at the bottom of a dried river.


At the top of the south wing, a library has been created to house a collection of Eliasson's art books – including a new publication produced for the exhibition featuring landscape photographs of Iceland from 1986 to 2013 – and digital screens to provide access to his online archive.


Eliasson has also created a series of geometric models with Icelandic artist Einar Thorsteinn to add to his Model Room, which has been in progress since 2003 and will be hosted in the museum's north wing during the exhibition.


The building's main hall will show three video works – a portrait of Berlin called Innen Stadt Aussen from 2010; an exploration of a Chinese garden in Suzhou through movements created by choreographer Steen Koerner titled Your Embodied Garden filmed in 2011; and Movement Microscope, a 2013 movie that follows a group of dancers in Eliasson's own studio.


The exhibition is due to open to the public on 20 August.

  • degsy

    It’s a room full of sh*t.

  • csp

    Nature does it better.

  • MK

    Beautiful and experiential art. I’d love to visit.

  • Karley Klopfenstein

    Seriously? Walter de Maria did it better, and in 1977.

    • demo

      This is far more interesting than De Maria’s installation. The colour palette and ceiling give off inter-dimensional 2001: A Space Odyssey vibes. Image five feels like it could go on forever.

      The earth room is underwhelming in person, and outclassed by every otherwise brilliant De Maria project.

  • Concerned Citizen

    C’mon, is this even worth knowing? I could have used that part of my brain to remember a beautiful Monet.

    • Chadwick Crawford

      You should give Eliasson a fair shot. His work, in whatever medium, is reliably beautiful and transporting.

      • generalpopulation

        His turbine hall installation at Tate Modern will go down as one of my all-time favourite artworks.

      • Concerned Citizen

        My kids, when they were very young, could have done the same thing. They were pretty efficient in bringing dirt into the house without even trying.

        • Chadwick Crawford

          Eliasson’s work is poetic, breathtaking, and playful. I haven’t seen this, but I would be shocked if it were not more of the same.

  • Guest

    The Louisiana is one of the best art galleries in the world. Why they’ve allowed it to be used like this I cannot understand. But I’m damn glad this “installation” wasn’t there when I visited, if for no other reason than I’d have seen far less art.

  • Guest
  • This building has a serious sewer problem.

  • r2 d2

    Totally Superstudio. 50 years later.

  • Michael

    Fantastic work, but what do you mean “first solo exhibition”?

  • Hi Michael,

    We got the wording mixed-up in the first line. It’s his first solo exhibition at Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

    Kind regards,


    • Guest

      One cannot help but wonder if there will ever be another.

      • Chadwick Crawford

        Are you serious? His show at the SF MOMA was absolutely transporting. Don’t be such a philistine.

        • Guest

          Your comment speaks volumes. You obviously have much to learn about art.

  • fahrender

    I like what I see of this. I don’t think it is possible to judge it in a perceptive and honest way without actually going there. I’m not able to go at this time, but I find it interesting and judging by the comments, provocative.

    • Guest

      If you’d gone to Chelsea this year you’d have seen a “perceptive and honest” meandering beck running through rocks by our very own Alan Titchmarsh. But it lacked your all-important “provocative”, of course.

  • Rae Claire

    First thing to make me smile today, and it’s already after noon. So thanks, I guess.

  • indoorer

    NOW I DON’T NEED TO GO OUTSIDE TO STROLL! Well seriously, I like this installation.

  • robpaso

    Proprio come a casa nostra quando piove.

  • Susan Christian

    Stunning from some angles. I love learning about related installations I never knew about, and can now look up. Aside from that, discussion amazingly childish.

  • Nice images of Gaza 2018.

  • Chadwick Crawford

    You are being rather silly.

    • Guest

      Are you hoping that calling me a “philistine” and “rather silly” implies that you know something about art?

      • Chadwick Crawford

        Not really. You being unpleasant on the internet doesn’t do much for you in that department, I’m afraid.

        • Barnie Rubble

          Pretentious? Moi?

  • Kevin Quigley

    Pointless. I have an idea for a new art installation depicting nature. Turn up at museum, pay your £20, board bus, get taken to a beach/river/hill/quarry (whatever is within 10 mins drive), get out, appreciate the art, board bus, return to start.

    Alternatively just use the budget to charter flights to Iceland and experience nature in all its elements.

    • JBru

      It’s not depicting an experience you’d have in nature, Kev.

  • JBru

    Unlike most of those passing comment, I’ve actually visited the installation (I know, right?!). It was an incredibly beautiful space to pass through and provides the sense of one piece of nature encapsulated, isolated and placed under laboratory conditions for inspection or assessment. I’d highly recommend Louisiana to anyone visiting Copenhagen or the surrounding area.

    • DonP

      I have visited it too and its absuld waste of money and time shipping tons of pebbles from Iceland and putting them in a room with a tiny stream running around. You may wish to encapsulate nature but nature is best enjoyed when it is not encapsulated and it is free too.

  • amsam

    It’s gorgeous. The number of people hating on it in exactly the language they used to hate on the impressionists a hundred years ago, if anything, is a vote for its potency.

  • Olafur Eliasson exhibition titled Riverbed makes me think of someone with more money than sense. But I understand artists need to make a name for themselves, to stand out.

  • Augusto Quepe

    When I see this kind of art I think I could be this kind of artist too. It is so simplistic: ground and rocks imitating nature inside the museum. I could imagine and put ordinary things inside museums and call it art too. Lets be honest, it has beautiful photos and could be nice to walk through. But contemporary art is just about provocation of other people. We need more creativity than “provocative things” to call art.