Located on Mt. Grawand in South Tyrol, Italy, Olafur Eliasson’s latest permanent installation is a steel and glass structure that merges structural architecture, optics and astronomy.
The artwork begins with a path leading along the mountain’s glacial-carved ridge for 410 metres. This path is divided by nine gates that are spaced at intervals corresponding in scale to the durations of Earth’s ice ages, marking thereby a deep-time timeline of our planet, of ice, and of the environment.
‘Our glacial perspectives’ pavilion comprises a series of steel and glass rings encompassing a circular deck which projects over the edge of mount grand. The rings divide the year into equal time intervals – the top ring tracks the sun’s path on the summer solstice, the middle ring follows the equinox, while the lowest track the winter solstice.
By marking the horizon, the cardinal directions, and the sun’s movement, Olafur Eliasson directs the visitor’s attention to a broader planetary perspective on the climate changes that are directly affecting Hochjochferner. The subpath’s glass panes are tinted various shades of blue about 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.