The transparent simplicity and experiential nature of Olafur Eliasson's work has built his reputation as one of the world's most accessible creators of contemporary art.

Why you should listen

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson works with sculpture, painting, photography, film, installation and digital media. His art is driven by his interests in perception, movement, embodied experience and feelings of self and community. Not limited to the confines of the museum and gallery, his practice engages the public through architectural projects, interventions in civic space, arts education, policy-making and climate action.

Eliasson is internationally renowned for his public installations that challenge the way we perceive and cocreate our environments. In 2003, he made The Weather Project, a glowing indoor sun shrouded in mist at Tate Modern's Turbine Hall in London. In 2008, he constructed four expansive artificial waterfalls along the Manhattan and Brooklyn shorelines for New York City Waterfalls. He has also explored art's potential to address climate change. For Ice Watch, he brought large blocks of free-floating glacial ice to the city centers of Copenhagen in 2014, Paris in 2015 and London in 2018. Passersby could touch fragments of the Greenlandic glacial ice and witness its fragility as it disappeared before them. In 2019, he was named UNDP Goodwill Ambassador for climate action and the sustainable development goals.

Located in Berlin, Studio Olafur Eliasson comprises a large team of craftsmen, architects, archivists, researchers, administrators, cooks, art historians and specialized technicians.

Olafur Eliasson’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Olafur Eliasson


Leadership: Notes from Session 2 of the Countdown Global Launch

October 10, 2020

Countdown is a global initiative to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. Watch the talks, interviews and performances from the Countdown Global Launch at The climate crisis demands leadership at every level. Governments, cities and businesses are three key players in designing and implementing the necessary transition. In Session 2 of the Countdown Global […]

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TED News in Brief: Olafur Eliasson puts sunshine in your pocket, Thomas Dolby launching a center for technology + arts

March 5, 2014

[youtube=] This week, so much TED-related news hit the transom. Below, some of the highlights. Artist Olafur Eliasson (watch his TED Talk) muses on his latest work — “Little Sun,” a miniature solar-powered lamp that puts five hours of sunlight in your pocket — in this awesome video from our friends at The Creators Project. […]

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The week in comments

July 18, 2009

This week’s theme for comments all over the Internet is experience. There are personal accounts from those who’ve witnessed Olafur Eliasson’s work (presented in his talk on playing with space and light) and recollections of good times at TED@Palm Springs (now upgraded to TEDActive!) or testimonials from volunteers of our Open Translation Project. On Olafur […]

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