Your Rainbow Panorama

Your Rainbow Panorama

Aarhus, Olafur Eliasson

Denmark’s second city, Aarhus has historically struggled to forge an identity independent of its big sister Copenhagen. 

In recent times, that equation has turned around, with Aarhus being named as the European Capital of Culture in 2017.

One of the most significant contributing elements to that transformation was the work Your Rainbow Panorama by Olafur Eliasson. 

The work is built on top of ARoS; the city’s contemporary art gallery, and in 2016 I met in the gallery with its director of operations, Henrik Ochsner to discuss the impact of the work on the city. 

Henrik was quick to extol the benefits of the the dramatic installation atop his city’s modern art museum and the way it had come to give the previously little-known city an identity. Henrik explained some of the challenges of implementing the commission, which included the requirement to structurally  reinforce the building to take the installation’s four hundred ton weight.

The effort’s been worth it for AROS; attendances at the museum have doubled to six hundred thousand visitors each year since Eliasson’s work opened, with flow on benefits for the whole city. 

This was everything I’d come to see. Art at architectural scale, creating an experience of a city not previously possible.  An artwork of such epic nature that it’s drawn the world’s attention to the city that commissioned it. Walking the streets of Aarhus, it seemed every postcard showed the great hovering form of the installation, dramatically aglow with internally-lit purples and oranges.