‘Life’ at Fondation Beyeler, Basel. Photo: Mark Niedermann

‘Life’ doesn’t go to sleep at night.

‘Neurobiologist Anna Wirz-Justice has done incredible research into the science of biological time, of our daily rhythms – the so-called circadian rhythms – and into how these rhythms govern human behaviour and physiology. But they also impact most other living organisms – from the smallest bacteria, fungi, and plants to flies and fish and mammals – as they have all internalised these external, geophysical rhythms and have a remarkably similar set of “clock genes” that generate an internal cycle of about twenty-four hours.’ – Olafur Eliasson

‘Life’ at Fondation Beyeler, Basel. Photo: Patricia Grabowicz

‘“Life” presents a model for a future landscape. It is hospitable. When Sam Keller, the Director of the Fondation Beyeler, and I first discussed the exhibition a couple of years ago, I thought, “Why don’t we invite everyone to the show? Let’s invite the planet – plants and various species.” Beyond just opening a door, I decided to remove the structural boundaries that keep the outside out of the institution, and I am grateful to the Fondation Beyeler and to the architect Renzo Piano, who built the museum, for trusting me to carefully – and caringly – have the glass facade removed from the building. Together with the museum, I am giving up control over the artwork, so to speak, handing it over to human and non-human visitors, to plants, microorganisms, the weather, the climate – many of these elements that museums usually work very hard to keep out. Instead, we are trying to welcome everyone and everything in.’ – Olafur Eliasson

‘Life’ at Fondation Beyeler, Basel. In collaboration with VOGT Case Studio. Photo: Patricia Grabowicz

‘Ever since I began practising as an artist in the early 1990s, I have been interested in perception and in the cognitive and cultural conditions that shape it. “Life” comes to life through your active encounter with it, through your perception. I’ve chosen not to offer a didactic or explanatory text to accompany the artwork, as this might shape visitors’ perceptions and understandings of the exhibition. It’s important to me not to share a finite perspective on “Life”. At the same time, I welcome what visitors bring with them to the artwork, their expectations and memories, thoughts and emotions.’ – Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson’s exhibition ‘Life’ is in continuous transformation, and anyone visiting the park surrounding the Fondation Beyeler in Basel can see the artwork as it develops. The exhibition has slowly started to emerge and will fade away in July. In this way, the construction and deconstruction of ‘Life’ become integral parts of the artwork. In collaboration with VOGT Case Studio. Photo: Patricia Grabowicz