Behind the scenes at Tate Modern

As Tate Modern prepares to open its epic Olafur Eliasson exhibition next week, we talk to curator Mark Godfrey about creating a show that reflects the artist’s wide-ranging preoccupations, from climate change to sustainable food

When Olafur Eliasson’s entrancing installation The Weather Project arrived in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2003, it proved a pivotal moment for both the artist and the space. The simple yet majestic display of a glowing sun brought visitors to Tate in their droves to loll around in front of the eerie installation as if on a beach.

By its close, over two million people had seen the work, establishing the Turbine Hall as a space for ground-breaking, immersive installations and Eliasson as an artist able to present complex conceptual ideas in ways that can appeal to massive audiences.

This summer sees Eliasson return to Tate Modern with a major retrospective exhibition, In Real Life, featuring work spanning the past three decades. The show will include his signature installations, as well as paintings and sculptures, and will be spread all over the museum, inside and out, even stretching into the Terrace Bar. This latter intervention is no gimmick, but in fact, according to In Real Life’s curator Mark Godfrey, a serious attempt for the exhibition to reflect the entirety of Eliasson’s practice, in a way that has not been achieved before.