“We should not teach children the sciences; but give them a taste for them.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Growing up, I was lead to believe that science and art are two parallel disciplines, running alongside each other — never destined to meet. Perception plays an important role in what we believe and that in turn, influences our view of what’s around us. Tell a child something and chances are she/he is likely to believe it. Thankfully, these days, artists don’t adhere to what I was lead to believe in. The void between contemporary art and science is slowly diminishing and somewhere in between the overlap — lies an opportunity for exciting new possibilities.



Two weeks ago, I visited the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, with two friends, and spent over 5 hours browsing and ruminating through floors of Korean and global works of art and sculpture. However, it was ‘The Parliament of Possibilities’, an exhibition by Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson, that truly stole the show for me. Eliasson likes to play with concepts such as: perception, movement, embodied experience, and feelings of self. Simply put (or what I understood), take everyday occurrences around you, put a creative spin to it, and the result will be a fascinating treat for the eyes and a surreal experience for the mind.

The Shape of Disappearing Time, 2016




All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.

Albert Einstein

The oloid is an interesting geometrical form. Invented by scientist Paul Schatz, in 1929; an oloid is formed when the centre of a circle intersects the circumference of another circle, congruent to it, located in a perpendicular plane, and vice versa. Eliasson’s exhibit combines Schatz’s vision and takes it a step further, by using highly polished brass triangles and light (at the centre) within an oloid, to create an illusion of light and alternate reality.

Less Ego Wall, 2015




This is the essence of all sciences – that you should know who you will be

when the Day of Reckoning arrives.


Perception and illusion form the underlying theme of Eliasson’s exhibits, questioning our beliefs of what we actually see, and what we are meant to see. A complex arrangement of diamond-shape mirrors, interspersed with triangular openings, play tricks on a viewer’s mind. At any given point, a viewer can see fragments of his/her own reflection, within the immediate surrounding, and at the correct angle — the viewer on the other side of the room.

Your Unpredictable Path, 2016


I had D minuses in chemistry and all of the sciences, and now I’m known as a molecular gastronomist.

Grant Achatz

It isn’t hard to see the inspiration behind this exhibit. The darkness of space is often illuminated by an occasional sparkle of a shining star or a luminous nebula. In this case, mimicked by a thousand odd spherical glass structures, spread across a black canvas wall. Some of the spheres reflect the image of the viewer — giving him/her an illusion — of being surrounded by the cosmos. Close your eyes and perhaps, you might visualise yourself at the centre of a fantastic cosmic universe.

Your Museum Primer, 2014




The grounding in natural sciences which I obtained in the course of my medical studies, including preliminary examinations in botany, zoology, physics, and chemistry, was to become decisive in determining the trend of my literary work.

Johannes Vilhelm Jensen

Light has always captured my imagination. This exhibit took me back to my school days, when we played with prisms and lenses, and were so easily fascinated by the light spectrum. Eliasson takes a science school project, mounts it in air, and gives a viewer, a chance to witness light morphing with minute changes in the position of an acrylic prism ring.

Rainbow Assembly, 2016




Why is the rain so fascinating? And the rainbow — a sign of hope? This exhibit combines our fascination for rain, light, and joy. A dark room welcomes the viewer into a surreal world of illusion and fantasy. A fine mist is illuminated by spotlights, to create the illusion of a moving rainbow, with its intensity waxing or waning, depending upon the distance of the viewer from the curtain of rain. My friend, Ivy, enjoys the soft droplets of water and the light as it reflects from her face.

Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

64 replies on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond

  1. What an amazing post Cheryl. The museum sounds fascinating and your thoughts and photos here, as usual, are thought provoking and stunning. I was never particularly good at science at school but I have to admit there is still so much that fascinates me about it. xo

    1. Thanks so much, Miriam! I wanted to bridge the gap between science and art through this post. It’s also the story of my life in a way (shifted from physics to creative writing). 🙂
      I believe, you are incredibly good at understanding science, for anyone who loves and appreciates nature has won the first battle! 🙂 Science is just an understanding of how everything works around us. Theories, some proven, some abstract. It’s all simple actually. 🙂

      1. I suppose you’re right, when you look at it from that context. It was just the theory part that never came easy or natural to me, at least at school. But perhaps it really is that simple. You’ve obviously grasped it, which is wonderful. Have a great week Cheryl. 😊

    1. Thanks so much, Dave. Truly appreciate it. The exhibits were huge and quite a few of them were mounted on motorised systems from the ceiling. It was fantastic! The artist played with planes, space, and motion. You might have seen the movie, Sphere or probably read the book by Michael Crichton. I had a similar feeling as I tried to look into the Oloid. 🙂

  2. What a lovely few exhibitions, Cheryl. The mirror one, The Shape of Disappearing Time, looks mind-boggling – as you said, you can see so many angles, parts of yourself and other people depending on where you are standing and looking. Sort of like a puzzle to figure out the identities within us and around us. It ties in very nicely with the Einstein quote: at the end of the day we are all on the same world living side by side together 🙂

    Those are such lovely shots of your friend Ivy. She looks so happy and peaceful. Hope at one point she was standing under the rainbow 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Mabel. 🙂 It was a really long, tiring day at the museum. I’m so glad it paid off. I wish we could click snaps of the Korean art and historical exhibits. Ivy is from Singapore and I met her at a local Hanji class and our third friend was from Japan. Lot of cultural exchanges happening there! 🙂 Ivy was a good sport and didn’t mind getting wet in the mist. I was worried she’d catch a cold (almost everyone has it here) so I gave her an umbrella. She looks serene and happy! I agree!

    1. Thanks, Helen! Makes the effort worth it. Maybe, you can check the main page (on the link above) of the creator/artist and check if there’s an exhibition scheduled in a location near you. Fingers crossed!

  3. Remember going to a Cartier exhibition in Seoul that was utterly amazing. Sadly, in my part of the world I feel deprived. Recently, there was a Picasso exhibition full of I feel his worst works and in the rest of the local gallery there was nothing that held my eye for long.

    1. The Cartier exhibition must have been something. Seoul has a number of interesting galleries and museums. I haven’t explored them all. And there’s a continuous exchange of ideas with artists/creators from different parts of the globe. Having visited Iceland, I was happy to see an Icelandic/Danish creator’s work showcased! In Iceland, we didn’t have time to visit any gallery. It’s such a small world. 🙂

      1. What was a surprise, was that there were only a couple of other people at the exhibition. I got to spend all the time I wanted up close with the exquisite pieces.

      2. You were very lucky! I’ve never had such luck at any of the exhibitions that I attended. And it’s a nightmare clicking snaps with bobbing heads. 😦

    1. Thanks, Arvind. 🙂 It wasn’t easy with brochures in my hand. Photography isn’t allowed for the main exhibits (other halls). I was happy to have an opportunity to capture the guest exhibition. 🙂

      1. I can understand Cheryl. photographers are quite like artist but still not in that class. So sometimes you’re not in a mood, other times you are mentally not free because someone is accompanying you. Having brochures in your hand is a distraction too! But I guess we still might find some way around it…??

      2. The best way to explore a place is when you’re in a mood devoid of any work or deadline to meet! I prefer when I’m alone, keeps any kind of pressure off my mind! But that’s just an ideal situation. In reality, it’s something else! 😉

  4. Fascinating post and the exhibits are incredible, Cheryl. I would have loved seeing them– I must research Eliasson’s work. Your photography of the exhibits is excellent.

      1. I’m just back from a trip from Jeju (an island off the coast of South Korea). Turns out, the museums and galleries don’t allow photography either. Had to make do with some shots of the building instead! 🙂

  5. Looks like an amazing exhibition – I really like the play with shapes and light! And how could you not be tempted to enter the rainbow assembly:)

    1. I’m amazed at the number of exhibitions held in Seoul. 🙂 It was surprising to see an Icelandic artist’s work. Brought back old memories. The rainbow assembly was definitely the best exhibit! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Ron! I was equally ecstatic with the exhibits, and the rainbow exhibit was my favourite. We spent a good half hour inside and outside the perimeter of the curtain of rain. 🙂 Cheers, Cheryl

  6. le mille sfaccettature di un diamante, sono quelle della vita, che più brillano, più se ne aggiungono, Arte, Scienza, Conoscenza sono quello che ci fa vivere in perfetta armonia
    questi vostri grandiosi post,Cheryl così colmi di Bellezza e di saggezza sono per me di grande supporto alla Conoscenza Universale
    grazie infinite

    1. Sono così felice che vi sia piaciuto leggere il mio post, Analisa. C’è così tanta bellezza intorno a noi. Abbiamo solo bisogno di essere paziente e osservare. Grazie mille per il tuo commento. Sempre godere le nostre conversazioni in lingua italiana. Credo che, potrei imparare parlare in italiano con voi. abbracci

      1. grazie mille ate! sarei onoratissima di poterti insegnare ad amare la mia lingia meravigliosa, che cerco sempre di far conoscere, senza fossilizzarmi in un inglese così formale

  7. That’s the kind of art I really enjoy, I would have loved to visit this exhibit !

    Rain is fascinating and I love the smell of the rain but my hair does not cooperate, they are all frizzy as soon as it is humid outside.. 😀

    1. And I was all the more amazed because the artist was Icelandic! Love these cross-cultural exchanges. Rain or heat doesn’t cooperate with my hair either. I’ve cropped it super short! 🙂

      1. Some people manage to have great hair under any circumstances.. I’m so jealous of them.

        Oh that’s amazing that the artist was Icelandic ! I’m not surprised, they have so much creativity it’s crazy.

      2. I know what you mean! Everyone has amazing hair here. lol! Have you heard too the band Monsters and Men? They’re Icelandic too. And they’re videos are filled with imagery characteristic of Iceland. 🙂

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