DNIPROPETROVSK, Ukraine (AFP) – Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson opened one of his famed light installations Thursday in the unlikely setting of an industrial Ukraine steel plant owned by one of the ex-Soviet state’s biggest tycoons.
The conceptual collections’ unveiling was attended by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych — formally there to cut the ribbon on a $700-million unit developed by the tycoon and political powerbroker Viktor Pinchuk.
“Art has the capacity to suggest visions, states of uncertainty, and new stimuli, whereas factories, to ensure smooth production, are of necessity governed primarily by order and predictability,” Eliasson said at the joint opening. “[But] I saw this commission as…a setting where human values and needs come first, where a degree of unpredictability and aesthetic experience is embraced in the factory’s everyday life and in the city of Dnepropetrovsk.”
The five permanent installations are spread out across the buzzing halls of Interpipe Steel — an energy pipes and pieces producer that plans to go through 1.3 million tonnes of steel per year.
“This is a great event for Ukraine,” Yanukovych said. “It’s the first metallurgical factory built in our country in forty years.”
One of the of installations is called “Dnepropetrovsk Sunrise” and symbolizes the “industrial renaissance of Ukraine”.
The work features two intersecting ellipses made of metal rising 60 meters (200 feet) high. There is also a series of mirrors arranged on the wall of a workshop and still more pieces that, like the rest, will remain open to visitors.
The tycoon Pinchuk called the show “an encounter with the future.”
Eliasson debuted in Ukraine last year at a Kiev art centre also owned by Pinchuk.
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