Ventilator, 1997


Posted by Tom Taylor on Sep 13, 2007

“It makes me feel almost invited to try things. It’s simplicity, random activity, and placement whispers a welcoming call to everyone, I feel, to enjoy and perhaps even participate in an almost inalienable human right to be a part of discovering and creating our common environment.”

Beauty 360 degree room One-way colour tunnel Notion Motion
Sunset Kaleidoscope model room aerial
Room for One Color Yellow vs. Purple ventilator Your Mobile Expectations


  1. Nossaile Rufalo
    Posted September 6, 2007 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    The fan is the coolest, scariest thing I’ve ever seen in a museum space. If you are over 6 foot 8 inches be sure to duck when you enter SFMOMA. The fan is simple, elegant, beautiful and mesmerizing. I loved watching other people reacting to it. I heard people say they thought it was there to cool off visitors, and were wondering if the staff realized it was swinging wildly through the air. A very unique piece of art that you won’t soon forget. Brilliant!

  2. O. Mitigawa
    Posted September 8, 2007 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    It is superfantastic!

  3. Sean
    Posted September 9, 2007 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    Amazing use of dichroic filters on the bridge. And the BMW exhibit was an amazing political statement. Really great exhibit.

  4. Posted September 13, 2007 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    It makes me feel almost invited to try things. It’s simplicity, random activity, and placement whispers a welcoming call to everyone, I feel, to enjoy and perhaps even participate in an almost inalienable human right to be a part of discovering and creating our common environment. For this gracious invitation that I hope will become more common in the future; I offer a deeply felt thank you. TT also at (due to some problems with other address)

  5. Posted September 14, 2007 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    i love the duality, that there are two sides to every installation. every piece has a consious and subconsious existence.

  6. Posted September 16, 2007 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    mesmorizing, like a dangerous lava lamp.

  7. Posted September 16, 2007 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    really enjoyed the floating fan. it appeared to be real and alive with a ‘swash of life in it’

  8. David Littlejohn
    Posted September 17, 2007 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Utterly simple, but ingenious and affecting beyond belief. Apparently when it was installed elsewhere, it was allowed to swing down to shoulder height–which seems to me incredibly dangerous. Decapitated museum-goers?

  9. Ignacio
    Posted September 20, 2007 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Muy buen museo, exelente trabajo.

  10. Posted September 22, 2007 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    For me the fan is by far the most engaging work at the Eliasson show. But, then it seems to come from a completely different place where the viewer is viscerally confronted and forced to consider his own immediate safety. I think it would have worked better in a separate room to itself. The other works seem to play with elements of nature and visual perception, but seem mostly very cool and without much more going on. They remind me of the empty desolate spaces of the far North (or Iceland).

  11. Eric
    Posted September 22, 2007 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I’d say you’re safe if you’re under 7 feet tall.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    It’s kind of scary. You feel like its going to hit you but it isn’t.

  13. brenda
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    You think its going to hit you but it doesn’t. Its really cool. IT kind of shows you a whole new definition of art.

  14. kathy
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    The fan engages the visitor immediately upon entering the museum atrium. Makes you stop and look.

  15. Andrew Oller
    Posted October 5, 2007 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    This was fantastic, mesmerised us for 15 minutes when we walked in. Hope you don’t get too many basket-ballers calling in though 🙂


  16. Jerry
    Posted October 8, 2007 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    i love how Eliasson uses lots of physics in his art. The fan just keeps itself going on its own. Be sure to watch your head though. This fan pwns

  17. Andrew Mackenzie
    Posted October 26, 2007 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    The fan is the single coolest piece of modern art I think I’ve ever seen – so simple, yet at the same time complex. It’s fascinating watching people interact with it and just watching how it swings around. Truly brilliant – worth the price of admission alone!

  18. Random Guy
    Posted November 2, 2007 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s FANtastic! Get it? Fan-tastic. Ha!

  19. jay
    Posted November 2, 2007 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    this is the most brilliant work of his so far that I have seen, and i’ve seen alot (I still think this show didn’t include his best works). He had a show in aspen a few years back during the IDCA and the works there were inspiring. The works here seem like a mesh of convenience.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted November 12, 2007 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    aLL i’VE GOT TO SAY IS… it’s awesome

  21. M.
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    This was freakishly weird – and fun!

  22. Travis
    Posted December 8, 2007 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    The fan was the coolest thing ever. I sat and watched it for 15 minutes, and the best part is, when you watch it, it makes you feel high. Not only that but the fear of getting hit by it (even if you are completely safe) gives this exhibit an edge that most art simply can’t accomplish. AMAZING

  23. Tomo
    Posted December 15, 2007 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    This swinging object was invitation of new experience. My traditional cocept of Arts need to be reset at this point.

  24. Irena
    Posted December 26, 2007 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Simple, but shows Olafur’s immense creativity. Please continue to practice your art forever.

  25. feli
    Posted December 28, 2007 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    THE FAN: It is about fragility and movement for me, and taking an everyday object out of he context that we expect. Here, the fan is uplifting, threatening and utterly unpredictable – it is asking for joyful investigation.

  26. Posted December 28, 2007 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    With different lights, come different demensions. An infinity of stages in the continum of the electro-magnetic spectrum. As we are all self centered individual and seperate from each other, man is in essence, estranged at birth from other men(or women of course). It seems that our perceptions must also be infinate. The obvious, but can a perception lead to something else, something more powerful than just one individual? I feel it can. I note that the “yellow room” on the top floor, where all color is rendered to a black and white (or black and nearly orange)is like steping into a world before color. Sometimes it fells good to simplify everything to just two colors. The light feels like a heavy blanket, as if it has mass that presses down on me. It “feels” nearly unhealthy, and not a natural state. It’s as if there is a danger, like radioactive waves raining down on you.
    When all is black and white..
    If life were only so simple… but how boring it would be.

  27. monica
    Posted December 29, 2007 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    this is to the artist – what made you think of this ? this is my favorite because it’s very unique and it clears the air,it’s cool to see kids are having fun looking at the art.

  28. Rose Marie Curylo
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    The fan may be fascinating but it is also a danger to people who cannot assimilate motion. I visited the SFMOMA on December 24, 2007, and after observing the fan for a few minutes, I experienced a Vertigo attack and required medical therapy. Please, please, please POST A NOTICE warning your guests of the dangers of the exhibit!

  29. Suzanne
    Posted January 4, 2008 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    This piece made me feel joyful. There is an invitation to participate in the path of the fan as it propels itself in great swoops through the air.

  30. Posted January 4, 2008 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    le temps d’une pause et d’une pensee:

    en bon francais: Bonne fete me amore!

  31. Rafe Rosenblatt
    Posted January 6, 2008 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I think there might be some liability issues if the Golden State Warriors were to tour through here

  32. Posted January 12, 2008 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    We wanted to share this wonderful piece and the invitation to discover that it evokes, so we up a video in . Lori Lambertson from the Exploratorium comments on it.

  33. David
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 2:21 pm | Permalink


  34. frances
    Posted February 21, 2008 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Geometry and spirals, spiraling. Appropriate introduction. Weird, just as you would expect at a MOMA!

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  1. […] Oh! and there also was a black fan that was swinging back and forth in the lobby (above your head) It was actually turned on too. It was pretty wild watching it swing back and forth like a pendulum.

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