The work, commissioned by the Danish textile company Kvadrat for its headquarters in Mols, Denmark, continued Eliasson’s fascination with mirrors, nature, meditation and reflection. In the intervening years Eliasson had completed a number of spectacular projects for public spaces, including The New York City Waterfalls, 2008, and Harpa Reykjavik’s new Concert Hall and Conference Centre, 2011, with its crystalline mirror surfaces.
Your Glacial Expectations occupies the rolling hills around Ebeltoft and the Kvadrat building. Although the company originally envisaged Eliasson’s involvement in terms of a building project, Eliasson proposed that the work should spring from the surrounding landscape and a collaboration with the landscape architect Günther Vogt, whose own work is marked by a deep passion for plants and the workings of the natural world. The project demonstrates both Vogt and Eliasson’s complementary approaches, while also stimulating a personal literary response from Josefine Klougart, a celebrated young Danish writer who grew up in the Mols mountains (and was recipient of the Danish Royal Prize for Culture in 2011).
Eliasson has long been fascinated by the undulating landscape – unusual for Denmark – that his five mirrored artworks now inhabit. ‘It reflects’, he says, ‘as my friend the geologist Minik Rosing says, the underside of a glacier, in that it bears the traces of ice sheets that retreated long ago, during a period of radical climate change.’ Set into the sculpted landscape and grasses, his elliptical mirrors evoke glacial pools, morphing in shape from a perfect circle to ever more elongated ovals as the viewer moves around them. As Kloughart describes in a book documenting the creation of Your Glacial Expectations ‘the surface of the mirrors … offers the viewer the opportunity to almost vanish into nature: the viewer is un-reflected and sees only the seemingly infinite reflection or the sky. What we actually see when we stand there is the world speaking to itself without in any way addressing us.’ Eliasson has placed the sky beneath our feet, and at the same time captured the immensely fragile environment in which we live and breathe. He hopes that by documenting the way the work responds to its natural surroundings, he will help readers get a real sense of ‘the space that we occupy within this narrow, life-giving, atmosphere that encircles us’.