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Little Sun king Olafur Eliasson to show at Versailles this spring

The Danish-Icelandic artist says he plans to make use of water and light in his presentation at the French palace

by Victoria Stapley-Brown  |  28 January 2016
Little Sun king Olafur Eliasson to show at Versailles this spring
Artist Olafur Eliasson with his solar-powered LED lamp Little Sun. Tomas Gislason © 2012 Little Sun
The Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson will be the next contemporary artist to show his work at the Château of Versailles, from June to November 2016, following Anish Kapoor’s controversy-riddled presentation in 2015.

In an interview in Le Figaro, Eliasson, whose work often deals with environmental issues, said he plans to make use of water and light in his presentation in the palace’s gardens. “I like the idea of the sun and that the king of France claimed it in his title,” he said.

He compared his ideas for the palace’s interior to his current show Baroque Baroque at the Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy in Vienna (until 6 March), but says he does not plan on simply recreating this presentation, due to the larger scale of Versailles. He told the French newspaper that he anticipates fine-tuning his ideas up until the exhibition opens in June.

Eliasson’s show will be curated by Alfred Pacquement, who has organised the yearly presentations of contemporary artists at Versailles since 2013, when Giuseppe Penone was the invited artist. The yearly programme was launched in 2008 with a show of Jeff Koons’s work.

Eliasson was recently given the first solo exhibition at the Fondation Vuitton in Paris, which houses his permanent installation Inside the Horizon (2014). His work Ice Watch Paris (2014), blocks of glacial ice forming a ticking clock on climate change, was installed in December at the Place du Panthéon in Paris for the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (cop21). The artist also had one of his first major solo shows at the the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris (the city of Paris’s museum of modern art) in 2012. “France has always been kind to me,” Eliasson told Le Figaro.

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