Eau de Jardin

interactive installation

© 2004, Christa SOMMERER & Laurent MIGNONNEAU

Commissioned by the HOUSE-OF-SHISEIDO, Tokyo

Eau de Jardin Concept

" Imagine a circular room, the dado below the wall molding entirely filled with a plane of water scattered with these plants, transparent screens sometimes green, sometimes mauve. The calm, silent, still waters reflecting the scattered flowers, the colors evanescent, with delicious nuances of a dream-like delicacy.“ Claude Monet


Nature, Transparency, Water, Reality/Virtuality /Reflection, Water Lillies, Vital Force


Inspired by Monet’s late “Water Lillies” paintings and their panoramic setting at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, we constructed a large 3–sided vaulted projection screen that builds a triptych. The wide horizontal screens mentally immerse the viewers into the virtual picture of the water garden.

“Eau de Jardin” Description

“Eau de Jardin” is an interactive installation which transports visitors into the imaginary world of virtual water gardens.
The image of “Eau de Jardin” consists of a triptych, a three-sided projection screen onto a 12 x 3 meters vaulted screen that creates an immersive and reflective virtual water garden.

8-10 glass amphorae hang from the ceiling of the room. Their form reminds to old Greek or Egyptian transport vessels. They are completely transparent and contain water plants such as lilies, lotus, bamboo, cypress and other aquatic plants. Through the glass we can also see the roots of these plants.


When visitors approach themselves towards the amphorae, the plants capture the visitors presence and use the occurring tensions to draw virtual water plants on the large projection screens. The virtual plants on the screen resemble the real aquatic plants in the amphorae.

The images of the virtual plants are reflected through a virtual water surface and a merging between virtual plant imagery and reflected plant images occurs.

The more visitors interact with the real plants the more the virtual scene of aquatic plants builds up on the screen and all changes in the users’ interactions are translated and interpreted. This leads to constantly new water garden images as their composition reflects the visitors’ amount of interaction with the real plants.


The virtual lake in “Eau de Jardin” becomes a mirror to the reality of virtuality. As Monet succeeded in creating two layers of virtuality by blurring the borders between “real” interpreted plant images and their reflected image in the water’s surface, “Eau de Jardin” tries to create several layers of virtuality by blurring the borders between real plants, virtual plants on the screen and their reflected virtual image in the virtual water’s surface.



my images

Eau de Jardin Exhibitions

2023 The Artwork as a Living System at iMAL Brussels (from April 14th to Sept 24th 2023)
Retrospective exhibition Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau
Curators: Karin Ohlenschläger
Featuring "Interactive Plant Growing", "A-Volve", "Phototropy", "Life Writer", "Mobile Feelings II", "Portrait on the Fly", "Haze Express", "Eau de Jardin", "People on the Fly", "Fly Plotter Portraits", "Digital Fly Portraits", "Scavengers", "The Value of Art", "Fly Objects", "Ar(t)chive", and "ToBee"
Co-production in collaboration with the ZKM, Karlsruhe (DE) and the OÖ Landes-Kultur, Linz (AT)
- Brussels, Belgium

2022 OK Zentrum Linz "The Artwork as a Living System" (2nd Sept 2022 - 26th Feb 2023)
Retrospective exhibition
Curators: Alfred Weidinger and Genoveva Rückert-Sommerauer
Featuring "Interactive Plant Growing", "A-Volve", "Phototropy", "Life Writer", "Life Spacies II", "Mobile Feelings II", "Portrait on the Fly", "Haze Express", "Eau de Jardin", "People on the Fly", "Fly Plotter Portraits", "Digital Fly Portraits", "Scavengers", "The Value of Art", "Fly Objects", "Anthroposcope", "Antopolis", "Ar(t)chive", and "ToBee".
- Linz, Austria

2022 ZKM Retrospective "The Artwork as a Living System" (07.May.2022 – 31.July.2022)
(video trailer) (STIR World article)
Retrospective exhibition
Curated by Peter Weibel (Cuator), Jessica Menger (Co-Curator), Philipp Ziegler (Co-Curator). Nina Liechti (Curatorial Assistance)
The interactive installations in the exhibition tell the story of almost 30 years of artistic work by the Austrian-French artist duo Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau.
Based on an idea of Karin Ohlenschläger.
The exhibition is a co-production of ZKM | Karlsruhe, OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH, Linz and iMal, Brussels. The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly publication in English edited by Karin Ohlenschläger, Peter Weibel and Alfred Weidinger in the Leonardo Book Series in collaboration with MIT Press.
Featuring "Interactive Plant Growing", "A-Volve", "Phototropy", "Life Writer", "Life Spacies II", "Mobile Feelings II", "Portrait on the Fly", "Haze Express", "Eau de Jardin", "People on the Fly", "Fly Plotter Portraits", "Digital Fly Portraits", "Scavengers", "The Value of Art", "Fly Objects", "Ar(t)chive", and "ToBee".
- Karlsruhe, Germany

2021 Networked Nature (April 30, 2021 until April 30, 2022 )
Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation’s collection
Featuring "Eau de Jardin (2 plants version)"
- Santa-Fe, USA

2015 Art Bahrain
13.-16. October 2015
represented by Galerie Peithner-Lichtenfels, Vienna
- Manama, Bahrain

2015 Parallel Art Fair
23.-27. September 2015
represented by Galerie Peithner-Lichtenfels, Vienna
- Vienna, Austria

2014 Museum of Screen Culture(14-16 October 2014 )
Manege / MediaArtLab
featuring "Eau de Jardin"
- Moscow, Russia

2014 Solo Show at the Galerie Charlot Paris, (10th September - 11th October 2014)
featuring "Escape", "Excavate" and "The Value of Art"
- Paris, France

2012 Laznia Centre for Contemporary (Art, 14. May .2012 - 24. June.2012)
Solo Exhibition
"Wonderful Life, Art& Science Meeting"
Curator: Ryszard Kluszinsky
Artists: Laurent Mignonneau & Christa Sommerer
- Gdansk, Poland

2011 Arts Santa Monica Barcelona (1st June 2011- 30th September 2011)
Curator: Josep Perello & irma vilà òdena
Solo exhibition: "A-Volve, Eau de Jardin, Phototropy, Life Spacies II, Mobile Feelings
- Barcelona, Spain

2007 beap07 (biennale of electronic art in perth, australia) "Eau de Jardin" - sommerer/mignonneau at the
John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University of Technology presents: "impermanence [contemplating stillness]"
Exhibition artists are: Bill Viola (USA ), Mark Cypher (Australia), Daniel Lee (Taiwan/USA ), Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau (Austria & France), Lynette Wallworth (Australia) / CURATOR: Chris Malcolm.
Impermanence explores the value of the contemplative within the growing global technological maelstrom. It presents a range of projects that encourage audiences to slow down and pause in reflection of our place in a rapidly changing world. (PDF brochure and invitation card )
- Perth, Australia

2005 “Art Rock 05
Pavillion Art Numerique
- Saint-Bieuc, France

2004 Eau De Jardin  (curated by Tosiharu Itoh)
House of Shiseido
-Tokyo, Japan