Culture "is now used just to promote" says Olafur Eliasson

Governments are using culture purely as a promotional tool rather than recognising its social value – and this is contributing to the rise of popularism, according to artist Olafur Eliasson.

States are exploiting culture for commercial gain, the artist told Dezeen, while failing to recognise culture's role in forging communities and shared values.

"The cultural ministry has become an extension of the export ministry and has failed to maintain culture," Eliasson said. "It is now used just to promote."

The Danish-Icelandic artist, who is currently based in Berlin, spoke to Dezeen at the opening of his first building in Denmark last month.

He claimed that European governments are neglecting culture as they see the sector as solely a means of promotion.

Public sector's use of culture is "promotional"

"The public sector's use of the culture sector has become more or less a promotional one," said Eliasson.

"It has failed to acknowledge that the cultural sector is the one that drives civic trust and social self-confidence. It is the culture that we have that gives us our shared identity."...more