Liquid Landscape by Studio Roosegaarde for Arte Sella

Daan Roosegaarde – Studio Roosegaarde,

Roberto Conte,

Borgo Valsugana,

Landscape, Free Time,


Since a few days, Italy can also boast an installation by the Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde. At the Arte Sella contemporary open-air museum in the Malga Costa area of Borgo Valsugana in Trentino-Alto Adige, Liquid Landscape is a work of art waiting to be experienced.

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Liquid Landscape by Studio Roosegaarde for Arte Sella
After the Urban Sun project, which offers a technological and iconic solution to counteract the social isolation of people due to the pandemic, conceived by Daan Roosegaarde's team together with external experts and scientists from the Netherlands, the United States, Japan, and Italy, here is a new installation. This is the first work the artist and innovator has created in Italy. 
Liquid Landscape is part of Arte Sella. The contemporary mountain, a contemporary art museum in Trentino-Alto Adige, more precisely in the garden of Villa Strobele in Val di Sella. Arte Sella was born in an experimental form in 1986, when a group of friends living in Borgo Valsugana wanted to create a reality that combined contemporary art and nature. The aim was to protect and reinterpret nature. As the founders write, they wanted to give nature the role of the leading interpreter, because: "the artist is not the absolute protagonist of the work of art but accepts that nature completes his work".
Daan Roosegaarde's work Liquid Landscape also respects these guidelines, particularly the fact that in this context, the works, preferably constructed with natural materials, "leave the landscape, only to return to nature".  Indeed, the Dutch artist was asked to "create something with a challenging structure: no use of electricity, no use of artificial light, low maintenance, robust for decades, but interactive for people."
At first glance it looks like a small dune or a Dutch dyke, but everything changes the moment you step on it: the lawn becomes a liquid landscape, the surface starts to move and slight ripples form in the grass. Covering 50 m2, this work of art is composed as a carefully designed collage of local soil and water, embedded in the ground and covered with a custom-made flexible container of nutrients and grass. As more visitors walk through or step on the artwork the ripples become more and more vibrant, as if to symbolise the ecological footprint.
As is his custom, Daan Roosegaarde has proposed a playful approach to one of the most important challenges of our era: the climate crisis. Indeed, it is precisely in the context of the mountain, solid and reassuring, where the succession of seasons dictates the rhythm of life, that Liquid Landscape presents a disruption and, despite its static appearance, hides a constantly changing soul. All this can only be perceived by walking on it, directly experiencing the unexpected fluid, almost surreal movement of the grassy landscape. In short, to understand what is hidden in this work of art, the involvement of visitors is fundamental and interaction is a must. In other words, without a conscious act it is impossible to appreciate Roosegaarde's liquid landscape, as it only becomes such when you experience it, as Emanuele Montibeller, curator of Arte Sella, explains. Thus the analogy with climate change becomes evident and, like a call to action, Liquid Landscape inspires us to rethink our relationship with nature. And not only that, it also helps to better understand our impact on the Earth, as is well documented by the video of the installation filmed in the beautiful natural setting of the Val di Sella.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: Studio Roosegaarde
Commissioner: Arte Sella
Location: Borgo Valsugana, Italy
Year: 21 August 2021
Images: Roberto Conte
Special thanks to the Embassy of the Netherlands, the consulate-general of the Netherlands in Italy, the team of Studio Roosegaarde with all suppliers and technical consultants, and with all respect to artist Zoro Feigl who developed a similar work of art called Floating Fields in 2013, based on the same phenomenon whereby water accumulates in nature under a lawn.