Contemporary artists Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, and Anish Kapoor are building on the vocabulary of color theory developed by Op art painters in the 1960s, as well as their interest in the physiology behind perception, to expand our understanding of human and more-than-human interaction.
This exhibition features four sculptures from the museum’s collection, which evoke natural and cosmological spectacles, including a rainbow, a glacial ice cave, and a black hole. Each artist offers a unique vantage point, yet their motives are similar: to transmute the optical and sensory encounters of universal phenomena into objects and artifice that can be experienced in entirely new ways in the gallery. With each step, each glance, we become more aware of our roles and responsibilities in the dynamic world we inhabit.
Generous support for Contemporary Optics: Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, and Anish Kapoor is provided by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.
Header image: Olafur Eliasson, One-way colour tunnel, 2007 (detail); gift of Helen and Charles Schwab through The Art Supporting Foundation; © Olafur Eliasson; courtesy SFMOMA