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Olafur Eliasson’s Versailles Takeover

The Berlin-Based Artist Staged a Series of Large-Scale Interventions across the Grounds

Posted by Gestalten—06/2016

With its rigid symmetry and impeccably-preserved architecture, the Palace of Versailles is a monument of the French Empire and all of its spoils. Though a popular tourist spot in its own right, the château has invited a handful of renowned figures to transform the grounds with a contemporary touch: Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons, and Joana Vasconcelos are among the past artists. This year, Olafur Eliasson took center stage. 

Known for his large-scale projects that examine the complex relationship between humans and nature, Eliasson created a series of indoor and outdoor interventions that use mirrors, lights, and water features to activate the heritage site. Eliasson installed a towering waterfall on the major axis that divides the grounds, pairing it with a a stone pool that references the cracks of a glacier and a ring that dispenses fog and obfiscates the grounds. Inside, a series of ring lights and bright mirrors create a sense of interactivity, inviting visitors to take part in the theatrical environment.

Images © Olafur Eliasson