Reflections on Water

A survey of the Stockholm archipelago; photo by Magnus Laupa for The New York Times
A survey of the Stockholm archipelago; photo by Magnus Laupa for The New York Times

Recently, we have been enamored with landscapes and water. Here’s a thematic roundup with two exhibitions that we’re sorry to have missed, and two that we plan to see soon.

 

Acquaalta at Palais de Tokyo

The Palais de Tokyo was flooded this summer. On purpose. The artist and composer Céleste Boursier-Mougenot transformed Paris’ contemporary art “anti-museum” with an installation inspired by the seasonal Venetian flood.

Installation view of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's "Acquaalta" at the Palais de Tokyo, 2015; photo by Laurent Lecat © ADAGP
Installation view of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s “Acquaalta” at the Palais de Tokyo, 2015; photo by Laurent Lecat © ADAGP

Acquaalta filled a massive gallery space with a dark waterscape. Visitors traversed it in small gondolas while their movements were filmed and re-projected in silhouette onto the walls. Those who rowed through the dark found a cushioned block island where they could lie down to become fully immersed in a strange visual and auditory experience.

Installation view of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's "Acquaalta" at the Palais de Tokyo, 2015; photo by Laurent Lecat © ADAGP
Installation view of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s “Acquaalta” at the Palais de Tokyo, 2015; photo by Laurent Lecat © ADAGP

The artist described it as an imaginary journey that references mythology and film, and advised that “it is good to worry the visitor sometimes.” Acquaalta closed on September 13. Boursier-Mougenot’s rêvolutions installation is featured at the French Pavilion of the 2015 Venice Biennale.

 

Land Meets Water at Artipelag

Olaf Otto Becker, Talerua Bay, Greenland 07/2005, 70°31' 10" N, 51°37'15" W
Olaf Otto Becker, Talerua Bay, Greenland 07/2005, 70°31′ 10″ N, 51°37’15” W

At Artipelag, near Stockholm, Land Meets Water surveys European and American landscape photography from 1860 to the present. The show expands Artipelag’s series of exhibitions that focus on nature and its image in art, referencing the museum’s site and its extraordinary combination of art, architecture, and natural environment.

Andreas Gursky, Ocean II, 2010, chromogenic print, 133 7/8 x 98 3/16 inches framed; © Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010
Andreas Gursky, Ocean II, 2010, chromogenic print, 133 7/8 x 98 3/16 inches framed; © Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010

The exhibition includes some of the earliest known landscape photographs, with 19th century views of the Yosemite Valley in California by Carleton Watkins, the fjords of Hordaland in Norway by Knud Kundsen, and the rocky coasts near Gothenburg in Sweden by Axel Lindahl.

Ólafur Elíasson, The Hot Spring Series, 2012; installation view at Artipelag, 2015; photo by Jean-Baptiste Beranger, courtesy of Artipelag
Ólafur Elíasson, The Hot Spring Series, 2012; installation view at Artipelag, 2015; photo by Jean-Baptiste Beranger, courtesy of Artipelag

Contemporary works include Ólafur Elíasson’s The Hot Spring Series and Andreas Gursky’s Ocean II. There are more than 300 works by 40 artists in the exhibition, and notably, none of the landscapes include humans or evidence of their presence. It is sublime. Land Meets Water closes on September 27.

 

Reflections on Water at Palm Springs Art Museum

The Palm Springs Art Museum has just opened Reflections on Water, a selection of works from its permanent collection in a range of mediums. Water is considered as substance and as symbol, from a 1,000-year-old Native American pitcher to 20th century photographs.

Richard Misrach, Flooded Gazebo Salton Sea, 1986-1988, dye coupler photograph; photo courtesy of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University © Richard Misrach
Richard Misrach, Flooded Gazebo Salton Sea, 1986-1988, dye coupler photograph; photo courtesy of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University © Richard Misrach

Richard Misrach’s photographs of the Salton Sea are especially significant at PSAM. The exhibition becomes site-specific in Palm Springs, an oasis at risk from entropy, drought, and the Salton Sea. Reflections on Water continues through May 1, 2016.

 

Rain Room at LACMA

This November, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will open the crowd-pleasing Rain Room. The installation is an immersive environment in which visitors pass through falling water without getting wet. Body-mapping cameras and a software-controlled water system detect human bodies and pause the rain as people move through the space.

Random International's Rain Room, installation view at MoMA, 2013; photo by Random International, courtesy of LA Times
Random International’s Rain Room, installation view at MoMA, 2013; photo by Random International, courtesy of LA Times

Rain Room was developed by Random International and has previously been installed at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, MoMA in New York, and the Barbican Centre in London. Rain Room will be at LACMA from November 1, 2015 through March 6, 2016.

 

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