Clarity, Light, and Logic: Parallels Between Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project and the Gothic Cathedral

Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

School of Art and Art History, College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Scott Montgomery


Cathedrals, Ólafur Elíasson 1967, Criticism and interpretation, Decorative arts, Architecture, Gothic


This Master’s Research Paper investigates Olafur Eliasson’s The weather project as a case study for the dialogue between Gothic artistic principles and prominent elements of contemporary art. A product of a post-modern mindset, weakened historicity allows us to examine these connections anew; past, present, and future blur and artists (and viewers) have the whole of time from which to gain inspiration and meaning in works of art. I demonstrate similarities through theories on phenomenology; the spatiotemporal relationship between viewer and artwork; the convergence of art and science; and the communal, quasi-liminal experience of pilgrimage. I embrace Eliasson’s belief in the self-reflexive potential of art and the importance of the viewer’s own values, memories, and methods of seeing. This new interpretive layer will hopefully offer a richer experience for future participants of both Gothic cathedrals and environments produced by Studio Olafur Eliasson.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

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