A new attraction at the Palace of Versailles is making a big splash—literally. Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson created the Waterfall Installation, a towering structure that sends a torrent of water into the palace’s Grand Canal. The waterfall is but one of many dramatic installations by Eliasson that dot the 17th-century palace grounds as part of a summer art exhibition that opens today to the public.
Eliasson’s transformative works were commissioned as part of a recurring summer project that previously invited artists including the likes of Jeff Koons and Anish Kapoor. The breathtaking Waterfall Installation cascades down from a height of around 40 meters and was created to realize the plans of Louis XIV’s garden architect, André Le Nôtre, who had wanted to add a grand waterfall to Versailles but never did.
“This waterfall reinvigorates the engineering ingenuity of the past. It is as constructed as the court was, and I’ve left the construction open for all to see—a seemingly foreign element that expands the scope of human imagination,” said Eliasson in a press statement. The exhibition’s outdoor installations also include the Fog Assembly, which shoots out a circle of mist, and the Glacial Rock Flour Garden that evokes imagery of retreating glaciers. The palace interior is also transformed with the power of light and mirrors in the works Solar Compression, a suspended mirror ringed with light, and The Curious Museum, an installation that uses mirrors to create large-scale optical illusions.
Images via Olafur Eliasson