Olafur Eliasson at Versailles

Friday, June 10, 2016
Olafur Eliasson at Versailles

For the eighth site-specific commission at the Palace of Versailles, Olafur Eliasson has conceived of a unique series of site-specific installations. The artist has approached the chateau and the gardens as a site for experimentation, devising apparatuses that engage the visitor in an active relationship. All of the pieces exhibited here were conceived for the particular space in which they are now positioned.

Olafur Eliasson at Versailles

For the eighth site-specific commission at the Palace of Versailles, Olafur Eliasson has conceived of a unique series of site-specific installations. The artist has approached the chateau and the gardens as a site for experimentation, devising apparatuses that engage the visitor in an active relationship. All of the pieces exhibited here were conceived for the particular space in which they are now positioned.

The outdoor installations form a triptych on the theme of water, whose presence dominates classical gardens of this type. The waterfall erected in the Grand Canal is positioned on the central axis of the garden, while the two bouquets or groves (l'Etoile [The Star] and la Colonnade) reaffirm their role as open air salons, with one housing a circular veil of fine fog, the other a carpet of glacial residue. These three pieces thus share a common theme, tracing a continuous link and engaging the senses.

Inside the chateau it is the gaze that becomes the center of attention, through a set of successive mirrors and mises en abyme. The furnishings of the rooms have not changed, but are amplified through this multiplication of points of view. Visitors are surprised to discover their own reflections in unexpected locations, the rooms seems larger, transformed, revealing their hidden secrets. The artists glories in the fluidity of the baroque surroundings, which allow him to construct another reality. Displacements and destabilization modify our perception of the rooms, inviting visitors to become active participants in the reality that surrounds them.

"The Versailles that I have been dreaming up is a place that empowers everyone. It invites visitors to take control of the authorship of their experience instead of simply consuming and being dazzled by the grandeur. It asks them to exercise their senses, to embrace the unexpected, to drift through the gardens, and to feel the landscape take shape through their movement."   Olafur Eliasson

Through October 30th, 2016.

Olafur EliassonWaterfall, 2016, crane, water, stainless steel, pump system, hose, ballast. Palace of Versailles, 2016, Photo: Anders Sune Berg, © Olafur Eliasson

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Luc Tuymans, Flemish Village 1995.  Collection MuHKA, Antwerp

Luc Tuymans, Flemish Village 1995. Collection MuHKA, Antwerp

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