Olafur Eliasson's installation is art, but in a new spectrum


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The Independent Culture

What better way to see a city than in all the colours of the rainbow? After winning a competition to transform the roof area of the ARoS museum of art in Aarhus, Denmark, last year, Olafur Eliasson installed a 150-metre long multi-coloured circular walkway that looks like a glowing halo from afar. Visitor numbers have more than doubled since.

His permanent work of art, Your Rainbow Panorama, in the city of Aarhus, is made of glass in all the colours of the spectrum. It sits on columns 3.5 metres above the roof and 50 metres above the street, like a giant eternity ring.

"This is an important piece as it has become a logo for the city," says Bjarne Baekgaard, head of communications at Aros. "It's so unique; at night it's lit up by spotlights in the floor. It looks like it's floating at the top of the building."

The Danish/Icelandic artist describes his project as "a space which virtually erases the boundaries between inside and outside" – where people become "a little uncertain as to whether they have stepped into a work or into part of the museum."

Eliasson's artwork fits with the museum's design, which is based on Dante's Divine Comedy. The nine rooms in the museum's basement represent the nine circles of hell, while the journey up from purgatory can be made by using the museum's spiral staircase to reach paradise – now in the form of Eliasson's halo.

Famous for a giant sun at London's Turbine Hall in 2003 – as well as his New York City waterfalls in 2008 – Eliasson has added a Prism viewing space at Aros. "On sunny days one will experience a cascade of prismatic light, projected onto the wall by a number of prisms strategically placed in the ceiling," explained Eliasson.