Olafur Eliasson, test for Reality projector, 2017.

MARÍA DEL PILAR GARCÍA AYENSA/STUDIO OLAFUR ELIASSON/©2017 OLAFUR ELIASSON

In March 2018, the Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles will play home to a new installation by Olafur Eliasson, who was commissioned to create a site-specific work in a space significant for both its history and—at 13,000 square feet—its size. Under the title Reality projector, the work will commune with California’s cinematic past in the form of a light installation that stars colors and shadows in leading roles.

“I was inspired by the scale of the space,” Eliasson told ARTnews. “It’s not very often that you get to show in scenarios with such dimensions. And it started with the commitment that the Marciano Art Foundation has made to use the space as it is.”

First, Eliasson built a space of his own: a smaller version at 1:8 scale inside his studio. “I was playing around in the model, making sculptures and being playful, but I had the idea that I wanted to make reference to film,” he said of an inclination that aligned with the Marciano space’s use as a theater for Freemasons in the past. “I was using bulbs and lamps for shadows and colors, and then I decided just to hang the lamps up in the trusses of the ceiling. I thought maybe what we would exhibit could be pretty much the space that is already there.” The result, he said, will draw on “a strong narrative made out of light and shadows and colors only.”

With two lamps that move and emit light in different directions, Reality projector will create strong perspectival effects, the artist said. “It appears that the trusses that are farther away from the lamp move through the shadows proportionately slower than the trusses that are closer. That means there is a sense of depth and perspective that is very vivid. And what the perspective is, is actually a duplication of the space in which you’re standing.”

Reality projector, the second artist project at the Marciano Art Foundation (the first was by Jim Shaw), is scheduled to open March 1 and remain on view until August 2018.