Olafur Eliasson’s freestanding waterfall in Versailles

Olafur Eliasson - Waterfall, 2016, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France, Photo Anders Sune Berg
Olafur Eliasson – Waterfall, 2016, crane, water, stainless steel, pump system, hose, ballast, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France

Preparation for Waterfall

In his 2016 work on the Versailles waterfall, Olafur Eliasson made displacements and destabilization which have changed the perceptions people had about the famous landmark. Before he began his work, he approached the Chateau and gardens of Versailles to experiment whether the project was implementable. His work didn’t involve installing objects but rather coming up with an apparatus that kept visitors engaged.

Olafur Eliasson - Waterfall, 2016, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France, Photo Anders Sune Berg
Olafur Eliasson – Waterfall, 2016, crane, water, stainless steel, pump system, hose, ballast, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France

What Olafur Eliasson built in Versailles

The erection of the ‘waterfall’ in the Grand Canal where a surge of water rushes down a crane standing tall in the air turned into a major tourist attraction. This installation was inspired by Louis XIV’s landscape architect André Le Nôtre who had a vision of creating a waterfall in the palace gardens, but he passed on before he did it.

Olafur Eliasson - Waterfall, 2016, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France, Photo Anders Sune Berg
Olafur Eliasson – Waterfall, 2016, crane, water, stainless steel, pump system, hose, ballast, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France

Engaging visitors with Versailles and the work

Speaking in an interview about the spatial intervention, Eliasson said that he had been dreaming of a Versailles which empowers everyone. A place which invites visitors to become authors of their experiences by asking them their senses, maneuvering through the garden and feeling the landscape take shape with every move they make.

Olafur Eliasson - Waterfall, 2016, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France, Photo Anders Sune Berg
Olafur Eliasson – Waterfall, 2016, crane, water, stainless steel, pump system, hose, ballast, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France

Videos

Eliasson’s complete exhibition and interview with the artist

10 min

Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfall in action

1 min 53 sec

Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfall in action

31 sec

About Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson is famous for creating visual phenomena which establish new ways of looking at space. Some of the projects he has worked on include reinventing the setting sun in the immense Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern (The Weather Project, 2003), the New York City Waterfalls, 2008 and Your Star, 2015. Eliasson says that he uses water to amplify feelings of impermanence and transformation, and activating the whole space.

Olafur Eliasson - Waterfall, 2016, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France, Photo Anders Sune Berg
Olafur Eliasson – Waterfall, 2016, crane, water, stainless steel, pump system, hose, ballast, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France
Olafur Eliasson - Waterfall, 2016, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France, Photo Anders Sune Berg
Olafur Eliasson – Waterfall, 2016, crane, water, stainless steel, pump system, hose, ballast, Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France

 

All images by Anders Sune Berg unless otherwise noted.

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