To mark the beginning of the Sharjah Art Foundation’s series of permanent installations across the Emirate, Rain Room has finally been given its Middle East debut.
The immersive artwork by the collaborative London- and Berlin-based group Random International invites visitors into a darkened space of perpetual rainfall. But as you navigate your way through the atmospherically lit installation, often dark in places, you remarkably do not get wet. Using custom software and tracking cameras, Rain Room is able to create a unique environment that responds to the interaction of each visitor.
When it premiered in 2012 at the Barbican Centre’s difficult exhibition space, the Curve Gallery, Rain Room captivated audiences with its experimental technology that brought the rain inside in a fantastical way. It’s subsequently been shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Yuz Museum in Shanghai and, most recently, at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
As soon as Sharjah Art Foundation’s director Hoor Al Qasimi saw the work in 2012, she knew she needed to present the work in Sharjah. ‘When Random International artists Florian Ortkrass and Hannes Koch invited me to visit the Rain Room in 2012, seeing how the Barbican’s audience responded and interacted with the work made me think about the effect this type of project could have in Sharjah,’ the director said in a statement.
With a commitment to the local community, the Sharjah Art Foundation plans to programme a range of permanent artworks throughout the city. Wanting to encourage as much public engagement and participation as possible, extensive research was conducted to find the right site for Rain Room. Overlooking the Persian Gulf in the Al Majarrah Park turned out to be the ideal location, and poetically draws a link to the work, which uses recycled water through self-cleaning filters.
‘That Rain Room has found a permanent home at Sharjah Art Foundation is a humbling thought,’ said Random International’s Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass. ‘The organisation [Sharjah Art Foundation] is unparalleled in its approach to art, exhibition-making and relationships with a wider public audience. Sharjah Art Foundation offers an experience of art that is extraordinarily stripped-down, leaving the viewer to engage with the raw and often elemental forces inherent to the work on display.’
Rain Room is on permanent display at Sharjah Art Foundation in Al Majarrah Park, United Arab Emirates. Tickets sold on site: AED 25, Concessions: free-AED 15.
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