This Mind-Bending Swimming Pool Makes it Possible to Breathe Underwater

At the 21st Century Museum of Art in Kanzawa, Japan, artist Leandro Erlich has installed a mind-bending sculpture titled Swimming Pool. From the outside nothing seems out of the ordinary, as visitors look down at the surface of a pool filled with water. But then something strange happens.


As the water ripples quietly, other fully clothed visitors appear: conversing with each other, standing, walking around on the swimming pool floor, gazing up at the others above the surface. The exhibition website explains:

‘While undermining our everyday assumptions about what we think to be obvious, the work invites our active involvement in its spaces – once we catch on to its deception – and produces a sense of connection between people looking at each other.’

The illusion is created using two thin layers of glass where the surface would be with 10cm of water flowing in between them. Erlich first conceived the the idea in 1999, and since had his piece installed temporarily at the Venice Bienalle and MoMA PS1 in New York.


Swimming Pool is one of many illusory art installations created by the Argentian artist. Check out more of his internationally acclaimed work at

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