Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has commissioned artist Olafur Eliasson with the task of implementing a pan-European work of art in connection with Germany’s EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020. The artist was appointed following a recommendation by the Federal Foreign Office Art and Exhibitions Committee, whose members include art experts and directors of leading German art museums. The Goethe-Institut will support the realisation of the project.
Speaking in Berlin today (16 October), Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement on the appointment:
Olafur Eliasson is an outstanding artist who stands for interactive and innovative art. His critical engagement with democracy, nature and the consequences of climate change in particular has hit a nerve in our societies. Olafur Eliasson is therefore exactly the right choice for fostering the idea of Europe through artistic and creative thinking. I am delighted that Olafur Eliasson will be accompanying and inspiring Germany’s EU Council Presidency with his art and wish him every success in this undertaking.
Olafur Eliasson expressed his thanks for the trust placed in him and said:
The invitation from the Federal Foreign Office to create a work of art for the German EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020 is a great honour for me. My project is concerned with imagining the future; it is aimed at children and young people and will be developed and designed with their participation. My generation – and the generations before us – have often looked to the past in search of stability and inspiration for the future; but for young people today it is clear that our present and our actions need to be guided by our vision for the future.
Critical engagement with nature and the consequences of climate change, democracy and topical social issues is the dominant feature of Eliasson’s work. With his art, Eliasson transcends the boundaries of museums and shapes public space. The works of the artist, who has been active in Berlin since the early 1990s, encompass the disciplines of architecture, installation and sculpture, as well as visual art. They have been exhibited in locations including the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, the Biennale in Venice and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Tate Modern in London is currently hosting a major exhibition in his honour.
Eliasson is active in the cultural scene in Germany, has been a member of the Berlin University of the Arts since 2012 and was on the jury of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival in 2017. Eliasson’s prominent accolades include the coveted European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award (2013) and the Joan Miró Prize (2007).