The Palace of Versailles has reopened its doors today replete with the sculptures and installations of acclaimed Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, guest artist for Summer 2016.
Most famous for his 2003 installation at Tate Modern, The Weather Project and the installation of four monumental artificial waterfalls on the twin shorelines of Manhattan and Brooklyn, Olafus Eliasson’s fascination with meteorological grandeur has far from waned. These new works on display from today until the end of October at the Palace of Versailles, continuing and growing his tradition.
The body of work on display here from 7 June — 30 October acts as a monumental ode to the relationship between technology and nature, the industrial and the historic. The ethereal Fog Assembly envelopes one of the groves, concealing the natural fixtures and passersby in a cloud of picturesque mist.
Nevertheless, Eliasson has taken care to augment rather than dominate the Palace and Gardens, opening a dialogue between his creative practice and the opulent historical surroundings. The colossal Waterfall rises as a stream of perpetual water, monumental but narrow and not obscuring, amid the waters of the Grand Canal.
Mirrors also feature heavily, casting beams of “monofrequency” light as ethereal sun-like sculptural fixtures around the opulent baroque halls of the Palace. Space is manipulated as the industrial and regal are juxtaposed in the hall of mirrors, as in Your Sense of Unity, or simply casting back the viewers’ reflections beyond the windows outside on a false façade, as if they are themselves an exhibition in The Curious Museum.
Explaining his motivations, Eliasson said: “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.”
Olafur Eliasson is the latest in a series of high profile visual artists from around the world to have been invited exhibit a series of works across the palace and gardens, following in the footsteps of Jeff Koons, Xavier Veilhan, Takashi Murakami, Bernar Venet, Joana Vasconcelos, Giuseppe Pennine, Lee Ufan and Anish Kapoor. His stint as guest artist will run from 7 June – 30 October, and an interactive map of his installations can be viewed on his website.