Olafur Eliasson Jokla Series 2004

  • Not on view

Over the past decade, Eliasson, a Danish artist of Icelandic origin, has developed a body of work that explores natural phenomena and the spatial and perceptual experiences they engender. The artist describes his photographs and sculptural and light installations as "phenomena-producers." His interest in perceptual inquiry can be traced back to his student years at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, where he was exposed to the California "light and space" artists Robert Irwin, Maria Nordman, and James Turrell.

Each summer Eliasson makes photographs in Iceland, and in 2004 he completed Jokla Series, his most ambitious project to date. Composed of forty-eight pictures, the work documents the longest river in eastern Iceland from source to mouth. The aerial view, taken while flying far above the water, is an artificial perspective on a natural landscape that would seem incomprehensibly enormous while on the ground. In this sense the project is related to 1970s Land art by artists such as Robert Smithson, Dennis Oppenheim, and Turrell and to aerial landscape work by photographers from William Garnett to Frank Gohlke. Significant to Eliasson’s photographic œuvre is the idea of an atlas of Iceland, mapping the country through a visual archive of different locations and their changing conditions.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 215.
48 chromogenic prints
Each 14 3/16 × 21 5/16" (36 × 54 cm)
Acquired through the generosity of Jerry I. Speyer, Marie-Josée Kravis, and Michael Lynne
Object number
© 2024 Olafur Eliasson

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].