Trompe L’oeil for the 21st century

The record levels of rain we have been experiencing in my part of the world have made my local landmark, the Croton Dam, quite an attraction.  I visited there a few days ago with my design class from Columbia University.  The spillway to the side of the dam was quite a torrent!  Like Niagara Falls, the power of this waterfall was almost too much to bear...but what a reminder of nature and the energy she holds.

(this is the dam and spillway in normal times)

The raging waters brought to my mind the use of water in a garden....

One day in 2007 I was driving along a road in my area when I saw a long wall of falling water that wasn't there before. The water was gushing over the wall but I saw no evidence of any water beyond that ...hmmm

I had to stop the car and take a picture. Then I had to walk up there and see what was going on....

It was an art installation using photo-derived imagery of a waterfall.  A digital print on vinyl  - trompe l’oeil for the 21st century!   The artist is the talented and inventive Michael Krondl.

The 200-foot long waterfall called 'Rising Water/Falling Water' was in front of the Katonah Museum of Art. The museum is surrounded by huge reservoirs that supply the water to New York City and this water is held back by massive dams. How appropriate.

I was struck by this vinyl wall of water..I had to see how he attached it to the existing wall...ah yes, grommets!

The possibilities of this trompe l’oeil in a landscape or public setting are vast!

Walls of water on subway platforms, sides of buildings, billboards, gas stations...why not? As they say, views of nature help us relax. Serenity in the Garden goes viral.....

Mr. Krondl's other projects are just as compelling - I like the 'Waterwalk' he did for the Center for Contemporary Art in Prague. It was created to commemorate the anniversary of flooding that had devastated Prague in 2002 .

Mr Krondl explains on his website that he made the digital print on vinyl in 2003,by taking a series of photographs of the nearby river. He digitally “seamed“ these together to make one large image and this was printed by a commercial billboard printer. It was then installed on the floor of the Palmovka Synagogue, a spot heavily affected by the floods. People walking on the surface of the 'water' felt they were literally afloat.
Someday I will place a trompe l’oeil 'water wall' somewhere.....or this! (look carefully):


  1. How clever. I wonder if they could install nature scenes on the side of freeways...that's where I feel a little extra stress;)

    Christine in Alaska


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