Ever Wanted to Swim in an Artwork? Take a Dip at Jupiter Artland

Artist Joana Vasconcelos has designed a vibrant swimming pool with mystical significance

Joana Vasconcelos, Gateway, 2019, installation view, Jupiter Artland. Courtesy: Jupiter Artland

Joana Vasconcelos, Gateway, 2019, installation view, Jupiter Artland. Courtesy: Jupiter Artland; photograph: Allan Pollok-Morris

At Jupiter Artland sculpture park in Scotland, a vibrant splash-shaped swimming pool has appeared on the black brick patio behind the grounds’ imposing Jacobean manor house (Gateway, 2019). Designed by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos and set in a grove of undulating yew topiary, the fully functioning pool is the latest permanent commission at Jupiter Artland, which lies just 15 kilometres outside of Edinburgh and boasts works by artists including Phyllida Barlow, Andy Goldsworthy and Anish Kapoor.

Looping, brightly coloured lines snake around the floor and up the walls onto the poolside, giving swimmers the option of tracing the variously hued routes, which have been hand painted onto the 11,500 tiles that line the swimming pool. Vasconcelos says the patterns represent the astrological signs of the Wilson family, who own the estate, as well as her own (Scorpio) star chart. The mystical symbolism of the swimming pool goes further: Gateway is said to be positioned at the convergence of a number of ley lines, supposedly significant alignments between historic landmarks and religious sites. Treading water at the very centre of the pool, above the 12 zodiac-engraved stones Vasconcelos has laid at the bottom, is, apparently, a magical experience.

Members of the public are able to buy tickets to experience swimming in the luxurious pool, and although slots are now sold out, further tickets for the end of the season will be available soon. If a visit to Edinburgh isn’t an option, you can still channel Vasconcelos’s mesmerizing artwork on your summer holiday with a specially designed swimsuit, which will shortly be available to purchase on the Jupiter Artland website.

Figgy Guyver is editorial assistant of frieze, based in London, UK. She is co-founder and editor of CUMULUS journal. Follow her on Twitter: @FiggyGuyver.

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