the liquid room
Elizabeth Ogilvie is a Scottish artist who uses water as a medium and as a research focus. Water is the obsession which returns in most of her works and it becomes experience through the use of installations and videos. Her work embraces universal and timeless concerns, offering her public an innocent pleasure and at the same time underlining philosophical and ecological issues.
Through her installations, the artist isolates water inside an artificial state, creating a process which highlights its fundamental qualities in order to return to its place of origin which is the natural habitat.
Among her most important works there is Liquid Room realized in 2002. Inside a derelict warehouse the artist created basins with water which were crossed by a footbridge. By linking art, architecture and science, she realized an interactive installation where the visitor, walking on the footbridge, can touch the water, whose movement is reflected on the walls of the installation.
In 2006 she created Bodies of Water, whose operation took over from her previous work.
Once again, through a series of installations, the public was able to share the experience of sensorial involvement within an environment dominated by water.
‘A seminal artist has touched on eternal truths via her obsession with water’
The artist works with a fusion of art, architecture and science, using water itself as her main medium and research focus. The work embraces universal and timeless concerns, offering her public a sort of innocent pleasure at the same time as underlining critical philosophical and ecological issues.
Using the language of our times, installation and video, Ogilvie produces vast environments dedicated to water in various states. Ogilvie regards water as having a remarkably collaborative nature.
“Bringing water inside introduces an artificial state. By creating an artificial state inside, Ogilvie’s intention is to bring others attention to the distance between their everyday life practices and elemental resources….
…taking and isolating water from its natural habitat, highlights its fundamental qualities and therefore pointing back to the place of origin.”
Her projects are a testament to her love of the natural world and desire to pass on appreciation through her installations. As an artist Ogilvie has a role to play in conveying complex questions which might promote awareness and a greater consideration towards the environment. Art is an excellent communicator of contemporary issues and can address such profound topics.
”Her research involves collaborating with scientists and engineers, giving Ogilvie the possibility to expand and extend her knowledge of how technology can support interaction between artist and audience. ‘The success of Bodies of Water lies with Ogilvie’s commitment to the audience enabling them to interact with, experience, explore one of our most precious natural resources. Through a series of installations the viewer is offered the opportunity to share in Ogilvie’s experience of sensorial engagement within an environment. The effect of the work is then to affect.’
The projects reflect what the anthropologist Dr Wendy Gunn wrote about her recent installations, including Bodies of Water and The Liquid Room: “Visitors were asked to immerse themselves within experience itself. This experience relates to the body and the installation is designed to ‘draw people in through the senses’. ‘Drawing people in’ is another way of bringing their lives into the work; it is another way of learning new things.”