Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary presents Green light by Olafur Eliasson

Following the unprecedented success of the exhibition Olafur Eliasson: Baroque Baroque, organized by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) and the Belvedere at the Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy in Vienna, TBA21 presents Green light, a new socially-conscious endeavor by Danish Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson at TBA21–Augarten in Vienna.

  Olafur Eliasson, Green light, 2016. Photo: María del Pilar García Ayensa / Studio Olafur Eliasson

Conceived by Eliasson as a metaphorical green light for refugees and migrants in Austria and beyond, the project testifies to the agency of contemporary art and its potential to initiate processes of civic transformation. Green light consists of an artistic workshop and learning platform surrounding the making of lamp modules designed by Eliasson. The lamps are assembled on-site from materials and components that are made available at TBA21–Augarten. In addition to Augarten's audience, young refugees, migrants, and university students are invited to take part in this process of collaborative artistic practice and learning, giving rise to a space of exchange and encounter for contributors from a range of linguistic, social, geographic, and educational backgrounds.

The Green light project responds to a situation of great uncertainty, both for refugees, who are often caught up in legal and political limbo, and for the European societies that welcome them. Through its communal fabrication, Green light constitutes a dynamic space that elicits various forms of participation to migrate to other locations and contexts to initiate different specific engagements. By collapsing the categories of production and reception, performer and audience, and art and social action, the project aims to open up the contested terrain between art and society, probing the question of what constitutes the "public" and negotiating a field of difference and similarity.

Olafur Eliasson says: "It is my hope that Green light will shine light on some of the challenges and responsibilities arising from the current refugee crisis in Europe and throughout the world. Green light is an act of welcoming, addressed both to those who have fled hardship and instability in their home countries and to the residents of Vienna. It invites them to take part in the construction of something of value through a playful, creative process. Working together in an artistic context, in dialogue with the visitors of the Augarten, participants build both a modular light and a communal environment, in which difference is not only accepted but embraced. Green light attempts to question the values of similarity and otherness in our society and to help shape our feelings of identity and togetherness."

Assembled into a dynamically growing sculptural environment, the Green light lamps host Green light – Shared Learning, a changing multidirectional weekly program of creative activities and critical discourse.


Olafur Eliasson – Green light

March 12–June 5, 2016

Workshop with Olafur Eliasson: April 7


Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

Scherzergasse 1A. 1020 Vienna