Press Release

Your unexpected encounter, Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson’s first solo exhibition in Türkiye, reflects the artist’s deep interest in light, color, perception, movement, geometry, and the environment—the main areas of his experimentation and research. Exhibition artworks dealing with these themes, which tend to merge into each other, offer viewers the opportunity to rediscover the concepts Eliasson examines. Sponsored by the Eczacıbaşı Group and VitrA, and curated by Öykü Özsoy Sağnak, Nilay Dursun, and Ümit Mesci from the museum’s curatorial team, the comprehensive exhibition features nearly 40 works, including new productions. The selected works also reveal the network of relationships the artist creates between the research topics of his multidisciplinary practice.



International exhibitions

International ongoing exhibitions

Olafur Eliasson, Your unexpected encounter

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul (Turkey)

07.06.2024 - 09.02.2025




The exhibition title underlines Eliasson’s belief that his works are only complete when viewers engage with them. The artist invites visitors to participate in the dynamic process of discovery—an act he considers to be a main component of his works—and encourages them to interpret life and the world they live in from a new perspective. Not only does this exhibition bring to Istanbul key components of Eliasson’s research on form, material, color, and other elements over the course of his thirty-year career, it also debuts new works inspired by the Bosphorus.

The exhibition begins with the permanent installation Your unexpected journey (2021), designed by the artist specifically for Istanbul Modern’s new building. Located in the stairway, the work’s reflective circular surfaces, juxtaposed against the building’s right angles, create the possibility of continuously evolving encounters as viewers move up and down the stairs.

Produced specifically for the exhibition Dusk to dawn, Bosporus (2024) connects viewers to the museum site, bringing the changing colors of the Bosphorus into the gallery space. The work, which includes hand-blown glass panels stacked on driftwood, combines Eliasson’s interest in the natural properties of color, light, and water. It provides a preview of other color experiments that arrive later in the exhibit.

The site-specific work Sunset kaleidoscope continues to traverse the boundaries between inside and outside. Looking out to the Bosphorus, the view is transformed by movement, bringing a unique narrative of the history of the city and the contemporary space within the exhibition.

Numerous artworks emphasizing Eliasson’s relationship with the environment raise awareness about the climate crisis and address the experience of absence. The photo series “The glacier melt series 1999/2019” demonstrates the striking rate at which Iceland’s glaciers are retreating, while also connecting Istanbul with Iceland—a country which is formative to Eliasson’s practice.

Light and its ephemeral properties stand out as prominent subjects in the exhibition. Lenses, reflective surfaces, projections, colored glass, and kaleidoscopes featured in Eliasson’s works allow the artist to conduct experiments with perception, space, and geometry.

Olafur Eliasson: Your unexpected encounter prioritizes a participatory exhibition experience and multi-layered narrative that interacts with Istanbul Modern visitors, the museum’s architecture, and the Bosphorus.

Exhibition 07 June 2024 - 09 February 2025. Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Kılıç Ali Paşa Mahallesi, Tophane İskele Caddesi No:1/1 34433 Beyoğlu-İstanbul - 34433 Istanbul (Turkey). T +90 212 334 7300. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm, Friday 10am–8pm.





Olafur Eliasson, Your unexpected encounter, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul (Turquey)

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2024 All Rights Reserved

Olafur Eliasson, Dusk to dawn, Bosporus (detail), 2024. Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles; ©️ Olafur Eliasson.

Olafur Eliasson, Dusk to dawn, Bosporus (detail), 2024. Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles; ©️ Olafur Eliasson.