Olafur Eliasson, heralded as one the most influential artists of his generation, will unveil his first permanent public artwork on the West Coast at the East Entrance Plaza of Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors, and Thrive City, in San Francisco on September 3, 2019
The Golden State Warriors and Chase Center, along with Studio Olafur Eliasson, announce the unveiling of Seeing spheres, Olafur Eliasson’s largest public artwork in the United Sates, at Chase Center and Thrive City. On September 3 at 9:00 a.m., Eliasson, alongside Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Chief Curator Janet Bishop, will celebrate Chase Center’s signature work of public art with a panel discussion and official unveiling outside the East Entrance.
“Seeing spheres is a public space that contains you and contains multitudes,” said Eliasson. “We often think of public space as empty, negative space in the city, viewed from a car or crossed on the way to somewhere else. Seeing spheres offers a place to pause, where you see yourself from the outside, as a participant in society.”
Seeing spheres, 2019, consists of five (5) fifteen-and-a-half-feet-tall polished hydroformed steel spheres that stand in a circle around a central space. Each sphere supports a flat, circular mirrored face, framed by a ring of LED lights, which is oriented inward to reflect the mirrored faces of the surrounding spheres. Together they produce a surprising environment of multilayered, reflected spaces in which the same people and settings appear again and again, visible from various unexpected angles. Tunnel-like sets of nested reflections open up in the mirrors, repeating countless times and disappearing into the distance. Situated on Chase Center’s 25,000 square foot triangular plaza in front of the East Entrance to the arena, this striking new artwork establishes a prominent public setting in Thrive City for visitors to meet and interact.
“Eliasson’s global reputation for innovation and creativity is now on full display in San Francisco,” said Welts. “Seeing spheres will be an instant must-see for Bay Area residents and a magnet for visitors from around the world.”
Eliasson frequently uses mirrors to expand spaces and create a subtle and playful sense of spatial confusion that stimulates awareness of our bodies and perception. Seeing spheres enables viewers to see themselves from the outside, as co-participants in the shared world that appears within the layers of virtual space conjured by the cluster of giant mirrors.The artwork heightens visitors’ awareness of themselves and their surroundings, exemplifying art’s potential to, in Eliasson’s words, “train our capacities for perceiving and interpreting the world.”
“Working with a multi-million-dollar budget and a client with a vision of building community, I knew that Olafur was the perfect artist for the new home of the Warriors and was thrilled when the owners selected him,” notes Dorka Keehn, project public art consultant. “The Warriors and Chase Center have gifted San Francisco with an exceptional work of art by a world-renowned artist, who has a strong connection to San Francisco. Seeing spheres is a destination piece, a work that reflects the soul of the new neighborhood, and the ideal example of San Francisco’s “1%-for-art program” enhancing and enlivening our city in tandem with our urban growth.”
Olafur Eliasson’s art is driven by his interests in perception, movement, embodied experience, and feelings of self. He strives to make the concerns of art relevant to society at large and has become internationally renowned for the social and experiential impact of his artwork. Art, for him, is a crucial means for turning thinking into doing in the world. Since the mid-1990s, Eliasson has realized numerous major exhibitions and projects around the world with works spanning sculpture, painting, photography, film, and installation. In 2007, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art hosted Eliasson’s
first US-based career retrospective, Take your time. Most recently, Olafur Eliasson: In real life opened at the Tate Modern, exhibiting three decades of work by Eliasson. Not limited to the confines of the museum and gallery, his practice engages the broader public sphere through architectural projects, interventions in civic space, arts education, policymaking, and issues of sustainability and climate change.
In addition to ‘Seeing spheres’, Sports & The Arts commissioned 33 artists to be featured inside Chase Center. Separately, Alexander Calder’s mobile Untitled and Isamu Noguchi’s Play Sculpture, previously on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), will be loaned to Chase Center and Thrive City for its new art program. SFMOMA has also commissioned, on behalf of the Warriors, Oakland painter David Huffman and San Francisco artists Hughen/Starkweather to create new artworks for the arena. Naming rights partner Chase will also provide artwork from
their JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, which features more than 30,000 artworks located in 250 offices worldwide, to be included in the JP Morgan Club and Chase Club inside the arena. The Warriors plan to continue to work with local community organizations to highlight their artistic efforts, through a collaboration with archive experts Heritage Werks, to showcase the history of the Warriors and entertainment in the Bay Area.
Photo Credits: Matthew Millman