Through The Eyes of a Goldfish: The Unsettling "Swimming Pool" Art Piece

Swimming Pool at the MoMA PS1 Exhibit

Image: Pondly

Yesterday, I covered a swimming pool with a mural on the bottom of it. Those types of installations are probably my favorite pieces of aquatic architecture, the ones that use water as the focal point or the message of art. Floating buildings are neat and all, but I’d much rather check out art pieces that make me view water in a whole new light.

So today, we’re going to focus a bit more on the creative, expressive side of things by examining a truly unique aquatic installation. Given the rather uninspired (though accurate) title Swimming Pool by its Argentinian creator, Leandro Erlich, this piece transforms a normal-looking swimming pool into a window pane to another world.

At first glance, it appears to be a standard swimming pool. It’s got blue water, a border, and it even has a steel ladder. If you looked into it, you’d probably just assume that it was a real swimming pool. It isn’t until fully clothed visitors enter the swimming pool from below and start walking around that you realize your eyes have been tricked.

View from beneath the Leandro Elrich Swimming Pool

It’s actually little more than a depression in the floor that’s been covered with a piece of acrylic. The acrylic sheet suspends water above it, which ripples continuously.

From below, the view is quite different. Art enthusiasts can look up at the world of air, sunlight, and sky as if it were an unattainable land. What should be familiar is heavily distorted, and immediately you feel disconnected from the reality you know so well. Viewers on the outside and the inside of the pool may only be separated by a few feet and a thin acrylic pane, but it truly does feel like the people on the other side of that transparent barrier are part of a whole different world.

A Young Woman Gazes Up through the Acrylic Panel

Image: Pondly

The design is certainly neat, but I find the effect that the water ripples have on image to be the most stunning. The ripples distort and blur the people standing inside the pool, almost as if they’re part of a Monet painting. It truly gives an otherworldly feeling, a bit like a piece of art has come to life and started moving.

Swimming Pool Art Piece

Image: Pondly

Leandro Erlich has a reputation of creating works of art that seem to defy the laws of physics or logic, and I can definitely see what they mean after looking at Swimming Pool. You can check out Elrich’s piece by visiting the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1 exhibit, which is in Long Island City, New York.

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