I’ve attempted to make Versailles look at you, rather than you look at Versailles.
The Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson gives new splendor to the house of Sun King. Eliasson reimagines Versailles through beams of light and dramatic installations, breaking down the sense of awe inspired by the palace’s decadent grandeur. The artist somehow empowers the visitors with new strenght, and makes them partners in crime of this spectacular take over, as they are invited to truly engage with the artworks without simply being dazzled and overwhelmed by the monumental setting. Eliasson asks them to exercise their senses, to embrace the unexpected, to drift through the gardens, and to feel the landscape experiencing Versailles in an intimate yet playful way. Somewhere in between dream and reality, Olafur Eliasson gives shapes to visions in motions, trapping ephemeral elements such as light, water and movement into astonishing sculptures and installations placed indoor and outdoor.
In the gardens, three monumental installations deal with various states of water — fluid, fog, and absence, as materialized by glacial rock flour. Inside, Olafur Eliasson enhanced the interiors through a game of perspectives created by a sequence of mirrors that modify the perception of the rooms and a series of circular light installations that recall cosmic abstractions. The pieces dialogue with the surrounding spaces, reinterpreting Versailles’s iconic elements such as the waterfalls, the golden embellishments, the mirrors by giving them a new conceptual meaning.