Olafur Eliasson

Moving stars takes time (2008)

Stainless steel, polished stainless steel, glass mirror, color effect filter glass, color foil, powder-coated steel, steel cable
Dimensions variable

Located in Main Concourse, SW Entry

The rapid pace of modern life is often driven by the sense that we need to know what is going on in the blink of an eye.

Olafur Eliasson’s Moving stars takes time (2008) goes out of its way to frustrate this desire. As a sculpture, it looks incomplete, more like a finely designed and beautifully polished model of some of the planets and moons in our solar system than a typical mobile, whose elements would counter-balance one another in a more resolved fashion. It is also different from conventional sculptures because its six components refuse to command the space they occupy with the authority common to more massive works.

None of this is accidental. Eliasson’s purpose in making Moving stars takes time is to get viewers to slow down for a moment, to take a brief break from the relentless rush of modern life and to stop behaving as if it is absolutely essential that we know what something means the split-second we see it. Taking one’s time is the best method for more nuanced activities like understanding the complexities of science, comprehending the beauty of art, and savoring the ambiguity of both. Being comfortable with uncertainty is the first step in a process that takes time. It requires viewer participation and leads to thinking outside the box. Eliasson’s art calls us to contemplate our place in the universe, where there is plenty of room for mystery, for wonder, and for much, much more than we can understand.

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