Les Cascadeurs installation by Laurent Gongora
interrupts the flow of a waterfall

| 24 comments
 

Steel triangles protruded from a waterfall in central France to intervene with the cascade of water in this installation by artist Laurent Gongora.

House of Nagahama by Takashi Okuno

Laurent Gongora attached 24 metal elements to the rock behind the Cascade de Vaucoux in France's mountainous Massif Central region to "redraw" the shape of the waterfall.



Arranged in an eight-metre-high diamond formation, the pointed shapes stuck out through the falling water and diverted the torrent over their tops.

House of Nagahama by Takashi Okuno

"Looking at this huge cascade, I thought it would be interesting to tame the way water is falling," Gongora told Dezeen. "The graphics of the basaltic rocks around the waterfall made me want to build something very geometric."

The project's title, Les Cascadeurs, translates as "the stuntmen" and also relates to the French word for "waterfall".

House of Nagahama by Takashi Okuno

The small roofs were coloured black to match the local stone and were fixed onto a steel base frame hidden by the water.

Horizonal bars beneath each peak were designed for daredevil wildlife to take shelter from the cascade. "There is a small wooden perch under each roof, in case a 'stunt bird' would like to come and shelter," Gongora explained.

House of Nagahama by Takashi Okuno

Gongora worked with two climbers over three days to hang the structure from rocks and trees above the site using six steel cables.

House of Nagahama by Takashi Okuno

The piece was installed for the annual Horizons Sancy art and nature festival in 2012.

  • Airborne

    One of the last things on Earth man should tamper with is a waterfall. Whoever gave permission to disrupt such a beautiful spot should be relieved from his or her position immediately.

    • http://www.libertydisciple.com/ The Liberty Disciple

      I actually like this man-made interruption. They use similar style patterns at the bases of spillways to slow down the water.

      Visually, this would be an exciting find in the woods for a hiker. Who made it? Why is it here? What does it do?

      You could go further with the design and function of this as well.

      It is rather extreme to want to fire someone over the installation of this sculpture. The great thing about interacting with nature, is soon after the sculpture comes down, nature will erase its existence. I’m not sure why allowing this would cause such a reaction. I am intrigued by your feelings now.

      • Airborne

        I would not be too sure about nature completely erasing the existence of the sculpture. A regular pattern of holes will remain. Visibly or not, they possibly interact with the falling water showing a regular pattern which is unnatural. They might also be cause for accelerated erosion that also would show traces of the artwork.

        I am not against interventions in nature when they do not damage the structure of it. This sculpture would be fine under a man-made cascade against a concrete wall.

      • Airborne

        I forgot to clarify my stance on the the individual who gave permission. If it is a locally elected politician who has been awarded a forestry department, then he or she should be replaced. If it is park staff holding a permanent position he or she should be reprimanded and educated by his superiors.

    • dan

      Get out of the wrong side of bed by any chance? I think it’s a very beautiful and thought-provoking intervention, that by the sound of it isn’t necessarily permanent anyway. At risk of getting carried away, I think it might actually make people stop and think about the natural power and beauty of nature.

      • WaxWing

        Very beautiful? It looks like corporate art stuck to the side of a waterfall.

        • dan

          I think if this had been stuck on the side of a building then yes perhaps it would be as you describe, but it hasn’t, and part of the beauty of a piece is in the context.

    • Me

      What if it was researched that it wouldn’t negatively effect the flow of water or the ecosystem? Let’s instead speak out about the real crimes against nature occurring.

  • Concerned Citizen

    How pompous is the “artist” that he believes he can add to what nature has done. Pity the fool.

    • cledwyn

      Pretty much everything we ever do is in some way adding to what nature has done, whether you like it or not.

  • dastroboy

    This sculpture will be long gone before the waterfall is. Is it wrong for man to make his temporary mark with such short life to express our very not short selves?

  • Craig

    Seriously, did you actually read the article? The entire structure is hung from rocks and trees above the waterfall. It is not drilled into the rock. I think it is rather beautiful.

  • final destination

    I do not want to be jumping down from that waterfall…

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.anziulewicz PolishBear

    I love hiking in the woods, I adore waterfalls and swimming below them, and I’m all for preserving the environment and keeping natural beauty as pristine as possible.

    And YET, there is some oddly compelling about this. Naturally no one would want such an installation put up at Niagara Falls or somewhere in Yosemite. But as a temporary piece it’s rather interesting. And when you think about it, is it any more of sin against nature than Christo’s “Running Fence” or the practice of shining coloured spotlights on Niagara Falls at night?

    • laurent gongora

      Hi everybody. I’m the artist and I just want to clarify that the temporary installation has been removed after 4 months and hasn’t left a trace.

  • http://www.libertydisciple.com/ The Liberty Disciple

    Give enough time, and nature, with its infinite time scale, will erase all traces of the largest man-made “interruptions”. A few holes into an eroding rock face under a waterfall, will be virtually unnoticeable in 10-15 years.

    I think if people have been able to put docks, small agricultural dams, mills and bridges into creeks for
    6,000 years without negative impact, the sculpture will be fine. Nature has this entire adaptation thing it does.

  • Adi-guru

    I agree, the photos of the sculpture in the waterfall are very compelling. In a strange way this artwork is beguiling and beautiful yet incredibly sinister. To my mind it encapsulates mankind’s perversion of the natural world, though I don’t know if this is what the artist intended?

  • Concerned Citizen

    You are pretty much wrong in the context of what he has done, whether you admit it or not.

  • tim

    Get a grip.

    • raf

      Seriously.

  • Concerned Kayaker

    They must have a real problem with kayakers.

  • Pat Swain

    Looks good. No rock damage, perhaps the odd fish with a bruised head. What’s all the fuss about?

  • Tlaxcalli

    Maybe this is one of those things where you have to be there to appreciate it, but I don’t see the beauty in this. At all. I don’t even get it. How does this instalment cause one to reflect on the beauty of nature, in any way? By reminding us that we’ve been diverting “nature” for millennia?

    They could have installed so many more beautiful things in that waterfall, but they chose a bunch of upside down V’s? Why am I even reading this article?

  • Skye

    How come the 2012 project has just been recently posted?