The curious desert is the first solo exhibition of Olafur Eliasson’s work in the Gulf region. The exhibition brings together a dozen new site-specific installations located in the desert, near the Al Thakhira Mangrove in Northern Qatar, and an extensive gallery presentation at the National Museum of Qatar of artworks created over the artist's career. The outdoor installation consists of twelve temporary pavilions that Eliasson considers to form an artistic laboratory in the desert. Many of the experiments inside the pavilions utilize natural phenomena, such as wind, water, and sunlight, to create artworks that emerge over the course of the day or, as the seasons change, over the duration of the exhibition. At the National Museum of Qatar, the gallery exhibition features a variety of artworks from different periods of Eliasson’s career and in a wide range of media, including expansive light installations, complex geometric models, photo series from Iceland, watercolours, optical devices and an extensive map of the research areas that occupy the artist and his studio. The themes that run throughout the two-part exhibition relate to the broad interests expressed in Eliasson’s wider practice.
In the artist's words: 'The curious desert asks how we use vision and movement to make sense of our worlds; to make invisible phenomena visible and palpable; and to collect knowledge, engage in critical reflection, and construct worlds based on the stories that we live each day.'