Olafur Eliasson

Socially and environmentally responsible Danish-Icelandic artist and bringer of sunshine and waterfalls

It’s not just that Eliasson has wielded a version of art as a wondrous, spectacular laboratory to popular effect, with largescale installations that dazzle and daze. It’s also, deeper down, that he makes use of art’s hazy parameters as the adaptable research and development wing to cure society’s ills. Following on from his Little Sun (2012–) project, he launched Green light last year, a series of workshops for refugees, migrants and students geared towards building sustainable modular lamps of Eliasson’s design; the project was part of the Venice Biennale and the Yokohama Triennale this year. The second Festival of Future Nows also took place this year, at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof, an ongoing brainstorming initiative that came out of his Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments), which was part of the Berlin University of the Arts until 2014. Which is to say, the art might just make your eyes pop, but keep an eye out for the next scientific breakthrough too.