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Olafur Eliasson’s new public artwork on Grawandon Mountain in Italy aims to remind us of the value of glaciers for the sustainability of our planet.

As a new, permanent, public work of art by Olafur Eliasson, Our Glacial Perspectives is inaugurated on Grawandon Mountain, Italy on 9 October 2020. The artwork is composed of nine gates and a pavilion. The path leading along the mountain’s glacial-carved ridge for 410 meters is divided by nine gates. These are spaced at intervals corresponding in scale to the duration of Earth’s ice ages, marking thereby a deep-time timeline of our planet, of ice, and of the environment.

At the end of the path is a pavilion made from multiple steel and glass rings that contain a circular deck jutting out over the edge of the mountain. Standing on the deck, the viewer can use the pavilion as an astronomical instrument by aligning her gaze with the surrounding rings, which track the path of the sun in the sky on any given day. The glass panes of the sun-path are tinted various shades of blue in reference to the cyanometer, a scale developed in the nineteenth century for measuring the blueness of the sky. The colored glass filters and reflects light and solar radiation, behaving as a mini-atmosphere.

By marking the horizon, the cardinal directions, and the movement of the sun, the artwork directs the visitor’s attention to a larger planetary perspective on the changes in climate that are directly affecting the Hochjochferner glacier.

Photography: © Oskar Da Riz