An Artificial Waterfall Debuts at Versailles


In the 17th century, the Palace of Versailles was equipped with elaborate fountains that were turned on each time the king passed by, shooting water into the air. These days, you don’t need to be a king to get the full fountain treatment in the palatial gardens. As part of a summer art exhibition (spotted by Curbed), a large-scale mechanical waterfall has been erected in the gardens by the Nordic artist Olafur Eliasson, who is known for creating installations that focus on natural elements.

Elliasson’s three artworks on the palace grounds all harness the power of water. There’s the aforementioned Waterfall, stationed in front of the Grand Canal, where water gushes from the top of a towering crane.

Waterfall, 2016

Fog assembly

uses a pump system to create the an artificial cloud of fog across the grounds.

Fog assembly, 2016

Glacial rock flour garden

fills one of the garden’s enclaves with particles of water generated by the constant grind of moving glaciers.

Glacial rock flour garden, 2016

“The outdoor installations form a triptych on the theme of water, whose presence dominates, as we know, classical gardens of this type,” Alfred Pacquement, the exhibition’s curator, writes in a press release. Each piece engages the senses in different ways, transporting what he calls “fragments of nature” into a new, more institutional setting where they can challenge our views of the world.

The installation runs until October 30.

[h/t Curbed]

All images by Anders Sune Berg, courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York © Olafur Eliasson