Light measurements: Reykjavik, 20 March 2011, 13:00 GMT, 2012
This painting reflects one moment in time on a day in Reykjavik, Iceland. Light measurements were taken at 1.00 p.m. on the afternoon of the Vernal Equinox, the day in spring when the earth is not tilted on its axis towards or away from the sun and the lengths of night and day are almost equal. The colours of the palette used are based on the wavelengths of light visible at the time, and the composition of the painting reflects the proportion of the various hues measured. The result is an abstract graphic impression of a particular moment in time, stripped of all objective content.
Since 2009, Olafur Eliasson has been engaged in a project that he hopes will eventually lead to a new colour theory, based on the entire range of prismatic colours. He began these experiments by working with a colour chemist to mix an exact tone of paint for each nanometre of light in the visible spectrum, which spans from 390 to 700 nanometres. Since the initial experiments, this palette has inspired a variety of colour experiment paintings, all painted on round canvases. Each painting is different and individual, but all are attempts at developing a new colour theory.