water art installations

    Published: August 5, 2016

    5 Water Art Installations That Will Blow Your Mind

    Humans are mesmerized by water and how it flows and moves with so little effort. Small wonder then, that many artists choose to make water their subject. The artists responsible for the five installations below took matters one step further. They don’t make art about water. They create art with water.

    Rain Room

    Created in 2012 by Random International, Rain Room answers that age-old question, how cool would it be if the human body could deflect rain? The answer, of course, is very cool indeed.

    Filled with perpetually falling water, the Rain Room includes technology that pauses the “rain” when a human body is detected. The rain falls all around you, as if you controlled the very weather. First shown at the Barbican Center, the Rain Room is currently at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

    Rain Oculus

    At Marina Bay Sands Resort in Singapore, a 70-foot acrylic drain holds a constantly swirling whirlpool directing water into a two-story waterfall into a pool surrounded by the store’s shops. The intensity and shape of the water is ever changing, and the clear nature of the bowl means you can watch the whirlpool from above or below. At its most intense the water falls at 8000 gallons a minute, after which it is collected and redirected back up to the drain.

    While a beautiful kinetic art piece in its own right, Rain Oculus also performs a function, collecting rainwater and acting as a skylight.


    Every year the city of Venice experiences a flood event known as the Acqua Alta. In an exhibit at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo, artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot has created a dark, surreal installation suggesting the devastation that would occur should the same flooding overcome Paris.

    Titled ACQUA ALTA, visitors pilot a boat through dark water inside the museum, navigating jagged foam landscapes. As you move through the installation, you’re filmed, and your movements projected onto a wall in eerie silhouettes. It’s a stark reminder of how much damage water can cause in an urban environment.

    Michael Cross’ Bridge

    The floor of a gallery in London’s Dilston Grove is also flooded. You move through the installation on mechanical stepping stones that rise from the water, one at a time, leaving you with no choice but to surrender your destination to the installation. The high walls, ceiling, and windows of the gallery—originally a church—give Bridge a surreal and ethereal quality.

    The Silent Evolution

    If you want to fully experience Jason deCaires Taylor’s art, you need to be comfortable snorkeling or scuba diving. The Silent Evolution is located in the National Marine Park of Isla Majeres, Cancun, and Punta Nizuc, and included four hundred life-like human sculptures made from materials designed to encourage the growth of marine life.

    As coral and marine life colonize the sculptures, the installation will give visitors a unique water experience—and hopefully take some of the human impact off the Cancun Marine Park, a preserve that sees more than 750,000 visitors a year.