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  • Olafur Eliasson, Map for unthought thoughts, 2014. Photo by Iwan Baan.

  • Olafur Eliasson, Contact, 2014. Photo by Iwan Baan.

  • Olafur Eliasson, Map for unthought thoughts, 2014. Photo by Iwan Baan.

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“Contact” installation by Olafur Eliasson at the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Frank Gehry–designed Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris recently launched the second phase of its inaugural program with an impressive exhibition by internationally renowned Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The exhibition comprises a series of site-specific sensorial installations that explore the relationship between body, movement and the sense of self, inviting visitors to get immersed into a “choreography of darkness, light, geometry, and reflections”. “My exhibition addresses that which lies at the edge of our senses and knowledge, of our imagination and our expectations,” said Eliasson. “It is about the horizon that divides, for each of us, the known from the unknown; the horizon we all carry with us.”

As Suzanne Pagé, chief curator of the exhibition, explains, Eliasson taps into the visitors’ capacity for empathy, striving to activate their participation, implicating them in a complex, multi-sensorial experience. Entering Contact, visitors move on the sloping floor as if they were traversing the top of a sphere or a planet. “While they contemplate the light phenomenon in this space, reminiscent of one heavenly body transiting in front of another, it may occur to them that they are standing at the heart of an eclipse,” continues Pagé. “In Map for unthought thoughts, viewers are at the center of the piece. Their shadow glides along a semicircle that is extended into a full circumference by a mirror. This shadow, shifting in scale, seems to orbit like an asteroid.”

Last, but not least, on the roof, Eliasson has installed an apparatus that tracks the sun and, at certain hours of the day, directs light rays onto a multifaceted, geometric sculpture suspended within the building. “Contact can be a greeting, a smile, the feeling of another person’s hand in your hand. To be in contact is to be in touch with the good things in life as well as with the difficult things in life. Contact is not a picture, it is not a representation; it is about your ability to reach out, connect, and perhaps even put yourself in another person’s place. For me, contact is where inclusion begins,” explained Eliasson. Contact will remain on view until February 16, 2015, at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, Paris.