Over the rainbow

Thursday 19 Aug 2010

Multicoloured circular installation atop ARoS Museum adapts tone to viewer's position

Your Rainbow Panorama is a new installation by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson which seeks to establish the ARoS Museum (on whose rooftop it is placed) as a focus point on the Arhus skyline. Visible from afar, the colour of the light will differ from one viewpoint to the next.

The basic form of the circular walkway is conceived to match exactly the square plan of the museum and thus extends the existing geometrical structure. Its walls consist of semi-transparent coloured glass through which daylight is filtered. Walking at a normal pace without stopping, it will take visitors on average about four minutes to cover the 150m walk, which brings them through the entire colour spectrum.

This walk aims to reflect all the colours experienced in the museum’s collections below. At any given moment, the panorama over Århus will appear monochromatic through the glass panes, but the colours of the surroundings will change according to the vistors’ movements. Thus, argues artist Olafur Eliasson, movement becomes the vehicle of colour perception.

The artificially lit white ceiling in the walkway has two effects, the first being the creation of afterimages. Looking at the panorama through the red glass panes, the viewer’s eye will develop a green afterimage, and the white ceiling in the red walkway area will appear to be green. When said visitor moves through the walkway from the red to the yellow area, the eye will readjust to the colour change, making the ceiling appear a subtle purple. The artificial white light will thus always appear as the complimentary colour of the walls, a colour that is also found in the window panes placed diametrically opposite in the walkway. The second effect of the ceiling is seen in twilight and at night, when the light appears as a thin, strongly glowing halo tinted by the coloured glass.

The panoramic walkway is complemented by another viewing-oriented space, The ARoS Prism, which will be realised in the second phase of the project. Approximately halfway around the walkway an opening will invite the visitor to enter the Prism, which takes the form of a spherical observatory. On sunny days one will experience a cascade of prismatic light, projected onto the wall. By a number of prisms strategically placed in the ceiling, which trace the movement of the sun during the four seasons of the year.

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