Creating an effect of reflected light with six mirrors forming a hexagonal tube, this work by Olafur Eliasson is based on the principles of a kaleidoscope. Etymologically, the word “kaleidoscope” is formed from the Greek words kalos (beautiful), eidos (form) and scopos (watcher): “watcher of beautiful shapes,” which the artist has reinterpreted as the work’s title, Viewing machine. The visitor is invited to maneuver the machine toward a point of interest. Through superimposed reflections, a myriad of forms is exposed. Internationally, Eliasson is one of the most visible artists working today. His often large-scale installations artificially re-create natural phenomena in order to examine the perception of light, time, gravity, movement and sound. Recurring elements in his production are steam, water, fire, wind or the sun. In Viewing machine (2001–2008), as with other works by the artist, the experience and the process of perception, rather than physical laws, are central to Eliasson’s interests. The sculpture functions as a tool for modifying our vision of the world, and the pleasure and playfulness in Eliasson’s work is, last but not least, nothing other than the joy of perceiving, learning and realizing ourselves.


  • Title: Viewing Machine
  • Creator Lifespan: 1967
  • Creator Nationality: Danish
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Birth Place: Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Date Created: 2001/2008
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Inhotim Collection, Brazil, Daniela Paoliello
  • Medium: Stainless steel
  • Multimedia artist: Olafur Eliasson

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