The Swimming Pool, A Brilliant Optical Illusion Art Installation Where People Can Socialize Under Water

Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich is celebrating the 20th anniversary of “The Swimming Pool”, his brilliant site-specific optical illusion art installation in which people can walk, talk, take photos and generally socialize seemingly under water. Erlich achieves this effect with the strategic placement of water and a transparent tank.

Swimming Pool is a life-size pool divided into two spaces: the upper and exterior one, which generates the very convincing illusion of seeing people under the water (in fact, it’s only a thin layer of water put on a transparent pane); and the lower and interior one, in which people can enter. In this blue room where the reflections of the water are dancing, one feels he is in an unreal place, totally out of his daily experience.

The installation is on permanent display at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.

In one of the museum’s courtyards is a swimming pool framed by a limestone deck. When viewed from the deck, the pool appears to be filled with deep, shimmering water. In fact, however, a layer of water only some 10cm deep is suspended over transparent glass. Below the glass is an empty space with aquamarine walls that viewers can enter. The work sets up an unfolding sequence of experiences, from our astonishment at peering down and finding people under the water to our gazing upward from the interior of the pool.

via Rated Modern Art

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.