When the new hospital Regionshospitalet Gødstrup welcomes its first patients, visitors and staff in early 2020, they will be greeted by the sculpture Verden set oppefra (The world seen from above) by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The work was made possible by a grant from the New Carlsberg Foundation.
Verden set oppefra consists of two semicircles made of steel and an obliquely angled mirror forming a shed roof. The artwork invites visitors to move into, through and around the pavilion-like space. The mirror reflections in the ceiling make the semicircles appear as full circles or meridians on an invisible globe that changes form depending on one’s vantage point.
Olafur Eliasson: ‘A hospital is a place that, besides dealing with minor injuries and illnesses, is also confronted with births and deaths – the extremes of life – and these situations invariably compel us to view our lives in a larger context. Verden set oppefra offers a space for us to contemplate things in a wider perspective.’
About Olafur Eliasson
Olafur Eliasson is known worldwide for works that examine the relationship between space, light, sensations and body. Since the late 1990s he has created numerous exhibitions in leading museums around the world, including The weather project in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London (2003), Take Your Time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2008) and Riverbed at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark (2014). Eliasson’s works in the public realm include New York City Waterfalls (2008), Your rainbow panorama, which crowns the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum (2011), the Circle Bridge in Copenhagen (2015) and Ice Watch, in which Eliasson and Minik Rosing transported twelve ice blocks from Greenland to Copenhagen’s Town Hall Square (2014) and Place du Panthéon in Paris (2015), in order to highlight the issue of climate change.
Art for the hospital
‘Olafur Eliasson has accomplished so much and in some of the most important art venues in the world. What makes the Gødstrup project an exciting challenge for both the artist and the New Carlsberg Foundation is, not least, that its primary user group is made up of people who have not come in search of an art experience; people who typically find themselves in a situation where they are confronted with some of the extremes of life. Olafur Eliasson possesses the delicacy and the engaging, inventive drive to make art meaningful to patients, families and staff in a hospital situation,’ says Karsten Ohrt, chairman of the New Carlsberg Foundation.
‘I am very happy that the donation has secured this unique work of art for the new hospital. Art has an impact on the patients’ treatment, because art can help make a hospital stay or visit less stressful. Art can help us momentarily forget that we are patients,’ says Bent Hansen, Chairman of Central Denmark Region.
Olafur Eliasson’s installation is going to be part of the area in front of the main entrance to the hospital in Gødstrup.