Acclaimed artist Robert Wilson’s new installation ‘Palace of Light’ at the At-Turaif World Heritage Site in Saudi Arabia reflects on time, space, light and the unique landscape of the site.
Wilson‘s installation consists of two major elements. One aspect features numerous individual lights sources, pulsing like stars and interacting with a silver sea that works as a reflective surface during the day and creates patterns on the façade of the palace when lit at night. While on the other had, a large copper dish/artificial sun rises from the sea, and juxtaposes the moon of ‘Daydream’, Wilson’s other work for Noor Riyadh 2021.
Wilson is an American theatre stage director, artist and playwright, perhaps best known for his collaboration with Philip Glass and Lucinda Childs on Einstein on the Beach and for his work with musician Tom Waits. Wilson believes that "the most important part of theatre" is light, while his interest in design extends to the props in his productions, which he designs and sometimes participates in constructing. Retrospectives of his work have been presented in France, US, Netherlands, UK and Spain.
The installation will be on display until April 1. Visitors to the space will also be able to access the museum and also a temporary exhibition space, featuring works from Riyadh artist Najla AlSaleem as well as an At-Turaif inspired sculpture by Saudi designer Nawaf AlNassar.
Diriyah’s At-Turaif UNESCO World Heritage Site is a symbol of Saudi Arabia’s rich history and a sanctuary for national heritage preserved in open-air museums. Salwa palace is the largest standing structure in the citadel and of significant importance as the home of Kings & Heroes, including Mohammed bin Saud, founder of the first Saudi state.
The city of At-Turaif was built with adobe mud and other natural materials in the 1700s and features courtyards, alleyways and towers that showcase quintessential Najdi architecture and tell the story of a traditional Saudi way of life. Under UNESCO guidelines, the mud-brick city has been restored to exhibit materials and artifacts from the Kingdom’s Royal, social and cultural past, taking visitors on a comprehensive journey through Saudi history.
In order to make Ad Diriyah one of the world’s great gathering places, the Ad Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) is intending to create a world-class cultural heritage destination for Saudis and for visitors looking to discover the essence of Saudi Arabia.