“With Life, I work actively to create a space of coexistence among those involved in and affected by the exhibition – the art institution, my artwork, the visitors, other beings that join in,

the trees and other plants in the park, the urban landscape that surrounds the museum, and beyond. Through collectively exploring the world we share, we can, I hope, make it livable for all species.”


Anyone visiting the Fondation Beyeler in the next months can walk into the building at any time of day, for the exhibition is open day and night and there are no doors or windows keeping the world out. The landscape surrounding the building spills into the interior, flooding the gallery spaces with a brackish, artificially green pond in which a variety of plants thrive.

Visitors may wind their ways through the exhibition along dark wooden walkways, accompanied by the ambient sounds of insects, traffic, and other people – as well as the smells of the plants and water.

Views of the surrounding landscape, a publicly accessible garden, become visible as visitors progress through the gallery spaces along a number of possible routes that allow them time to slow down, wander, and contemplate each of the subtly different spaces.

For Life, Eliasson has removed a broad section of the Fondation Beyeler’s windows. This act, which the artist describes as ‘caring’, opens up the museum to its surroundings, to the plants and animals of the public park, to the urban landscape, to the changing weather, and to the fluctuations in light and darkness.

Institution, visitors, and other life forms are thrown together in a space of coexistence. Life blurs the separation between outside and inside, museum and artwork – an effect that extends to Eliasson’s wish to keep the gallery open day and night.

Image: Installation view of Olafur Eliasson’s Life installation at the Fondation Beyeler Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. © 2021 Olafur Eliasson, Photo: Mark Niedermann

Fondation Beyeler

Baselstrasse 101

4125 Basel, Switzerland