Mirror, mirror on the floor
Milenka Thomas
Aug 10, 2012

As of late, five reflective ellipses adorn the grounds surrounding textile manufacturer Kvadrat’s building in the Danish town of Ebeltoft. What at first glance may resemble a well-shaped pond, proves on close inspection to simply be an optical illusion. The reflective landscape installation entitled “Your glacial expectations” is a collaborative project between Danish artist Olafur Eliasson and Liechtenstein-born landscape architect Günter Vogt.

Inspired by glacial lakes, whose glistening surfaces form a natural mirror, the permanent installation reflects the surrounding landscape. From close up, the extensive grounds, in which the reflective objects have now been positioned, look like a seemingly wild, unkempt piece of nature. In actual fact, though, the arrangement and selection of the plants was given close consideration in order to create highly specific mirror effects. The reflection also serves to offer an unfamiliar angle on the redbrick Kvadrat building.

In terms of both its optical effect and thematic focus, “Your glacial expectations” is part of a series of other works by Eliasson, who as a professor at Universität der Künste Berlin has been Head of the Institute for Spatial Experiments there for some years now. Similar to his past installations, the artist’s most recent work is once again based on the element of surprise that comes with the unveiling of visual experiments. Natural phenomena, in this case water’s reflective surface, have proved inspirational on a number of occasions, which are then recreated in the form of artificial replicas. For his 1994 “Weather project”, for example, he used 200 sodium lamps to create a gigantic sun. The theme of mirroring and reflection isn’t new here either, it can also be seen in earlier works, such as the “Your new bike” project from 2010, where he replaced bicycle wheels with spherical mirrors. The artist has been working with Günther Vogt since 2001, when they joined forces for the first time to create “The meditated motion”, an exhibition held in Kunsthaus Bregenz.

Five reflective objects form the landscape installation “Your glacial expectations“ at the outdoor area of the Kvadrat headquarters, photo © Kvadrat