The Impossible Garden

13 July 2018, 10.00 AM - 25 November 2018, 4.30 PM

The Impossible Garden is open to the public from Friday 13 July to Sunday 25 November 2018 from 10 am until 4.30 pm, 7-days-a-week, including bank holidays.

The Impossible Garden is a unique set of new experimental sculptures, by artist Luke Jerram, inspired by visual phenomena. The exhibition aims to enhance our understanding of vision and is open to the public throughout the summer. As visitors explore the garden, they will discover 12 engaging art exhibits, designed to stimulate debate about how visual impairments can affect our perception of the world around us.  For those with visual impairments, we do have both audio and braille copies of the brochure available. 

The unique idea of The Impossible Garden came about after Luke’s nine-month residency at the Bristol Eye Hospital and Bristol Vision Institute (BVI), funded by the Leverhulme Trust.  Luke applied for the residency together with Cathy Williams, a member of BVI and a Consultant in Paediatric Ophthalmology at Bristol Eye Hospital. Cathy hopes this exhibition will encourage greater public understanding about the many processes involved in “seeing”, because families tell her that lack of understanding is often a barrier to getting support for children with many kinds of visual impairment.


As part of the residency, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, Luke (well-known for the Museum of the Moon and street pianos artwork Play Me I’m Yours), worked with researchers from the University of Bristol’s (BVI), Bristol Eye Hospital, Botanic Garden and spent time with visually-impaired children to increase his knowledge of visual perception.

Luke Jerram said: “As someone who is red-green colour blind, I’m fascinated by the processes of visual perception. Over the years, many of my artworks have explored the processes and limitations of vision. The Impossible Garden has allowed me to test new ideas and share my findings with the public.”

Professor David Bull, Director of Bristol Vision Institute, added: “The collaboration with Luke is a fantastic opportunity for us to explore the power of visual illusions. Understanding how they work can tell us a lot about the properties and limitations of our visual system.”  

Admission is £5.50 (includes 50p gift aid donation) and free to under 18s, Friends of the Garden, University of Bristol staff and ALL students. All organised groups of ten or more must book in advance with the Botanic Garden.

Please note, parking is extremely limited at the Garden so we strongly advise that you park on Stoke Park Road and around the Downs (5 hours free parking). Blue Badge holders and those with restricted mobility may park in walled garden car park. For further details on public transport links please go to our How to find us page.

Luke Jerram