Trompe l’oeil for 21st Century Landscapes

Michael Krondl - waterworks in Katonah, NY

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.....

Photo by Jan Johnsen

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.

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

photo by Jan Johnsen

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 include '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. Does it really fool the eye so well? if the water is not moving, or not reflecting the atmosphere and lighting outside- I wonder.

    1. Hi Jeane, it did from the road..I am not so sure up close.

  2. Fascinating. I thought it was going to turn out to be a recirculating fountain type of installation.

  3. I've always wanted a little goldfish pond in my garden but I figured it would be just another project needing upkeep. Could this be the answer? ;) Well I think the artist came up with something quite clever, original and beautiful. But just to reaffirm, I will not be getting this fine work of art for my garden! Thanks for sharing Jan, Amanda Shenstone from

    1. Amanda, I linked to your Graceful Gardens website in the Heaven is a Garden FB page.

    2. Those of us in the water feature industry would much rather you consider building the waterwall as a functioning, low maintenance water feature, Amanda. :) Demi Fortuna, President, International Professional Pond Companies Association, at your service.

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