Discover the mesmerising world of Olafur Eliasson’s art, where the ephemeral natural phenomena of the surrounding environment take centre stage.
Qatar Museums launched its latest exhibition titled “The Curious Desert” on 19 March, featuring spectacular figures and scenery that are worth visiting if you’re an art enthusiast.
The exhibit, created by renowned artist Olafur Eliasson, can be found at a site in the desert outside of Al Thakhira Mangrove Reserve as well as in the galleries of the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) in Doha.
Visitors can catch the extraordinary exhibit until 15 August 2023, and no registration is required.
With installations located both inside and outside the museum, the exhibition features new site-specific works that delve into Eliasson’s interest in light and colour, geometric studies, ecological awareness and more-than-human relationships.
As part of Qatar Creates, a year-round national cultural movement that promotes, curates, and celebrates the diversity of cultural activities in Qatar, the exhibition promises a unique experience for all visitors.
“The Curious Desert by Olafur Eliasson illustrates the power and problem-solving ability of art. Olafur’s profound body of work, including the new installations in the Qatari desert, opens an important dialogue about the environment, one of the most pressing topics of our time, in the context of our nation’s natural landscapes,” said Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums.
“This exhibition is unique in its presentation, which exists both inside and outside of the National Museum of Qatar, to further demonstrate how art is not confined to galleries, but is around us, everywhere, to inspire and educate.”
The artist said that the opportunity to create artwork near Al Thakhira Mangrove Reserve is exceptional and paves the way for creativity to shine.
The combination of the sun, wind and nearby lagoon saltwater all contribute to the creation of the artworks that visitors will experience there, he added.
Eliasson hopes that the artworks will raise visitors’ awareness of the unique landscape and the various non-human elements involved in its creation. Additionally, the other half of his exhibition, which will be displayed at the National Museum of Qatar, is a collection of his artistic works and experiences spanning more than 25 years.
These two culturally and naturally rich locations complement each other and are collectively known as The Curious Desert.
Where to find it and what to expect
Nestled in the heart of a pristine sabkha habitat, 64 kilometers northeast of Doha, lies the display of experimental artistry.
Twelve intricately designed pavilions, each temporary in nature, encapsulate a series of mesmerising artworks that respond to the fleeting natural phenomena of the surrounding environment.
The sun, wind, and water – these seemingly commonplace elements come to life in a symphony of artistic expression, leaving everyone who visits in awe and inspired.
As visitors set foot into the exhibit, the first three outdoor pavilions set the stage for an immersive visual experience.
With a keen focus on the manipulation of optical phenomena, these pavilions play with the interplay of rainbows, shadows, and mirrors, creating a surreal landscape that captivates the senses.
Once inside the National Museum of Qatar, visitors are transported on a journey of artistic discovery. A vast collection of Eliasson’s works, spanning his illustrious career, are on full display.
From breathtaking light installations that stretch out into the horizon to stunning photographic series captured in Iceland, the exhibit immerses viewers in a world of intricate geometric studies, vibrant watercolors and mesmerising optical devices.
As guests take in the sprawling research map that serves as a testament to the artist’s dedication to his craft, they are encouraged to re-evaluate their relationship with the world around them.