The Noor Riyadh Light and Art Festival 2021 Launches - See Images Here!

Exhibition Reviews

March 27, 2021

One of the world’s most exciting festivals of light and art, Noor Riyadh has just launched across the Saudi Arabian capital, lighting up the night sky. Combining the highest quality of light artworks across the largest city footprint, the festival brings together works by over 60 celebrated global artists from as far and wide as Argentina, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States, including 23 leading Saudi artists.

The theme of the inaugurating edition is Under One Sky, alluding to the universal human impulse to gather around light, to look into the flames of a campfire and to gaze at the stars.

Aleksandra Stratimirovic - Northern Lights, 2015. Programmed LED, Width 5000 cm. Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection. Photo © Riyadh Art

Noor Riyadh 2021

Part of the larger Riyadh Art program that is investing in more than 1,000 pieces of public art to turn the city into a gallery without walls, Noor Riyadh 2021 is was inaugurated as one of the city's four mega-projects.

Director of Riyadh Art, Khaled Al-Hazan described the festival as "a celebration of light and art on an unparalleled scale" and an opportunity to "connect with people from across the globe, sharing experiences based on the warmth of personality, generosity of spirit and creative thought."

Art is a universal language and light is a symbol of hope and, in these challenging times, it is my hope that this festival shines like a beacon to the world and illuminates our path to a brighter future reflecting our theme of 'Under One Sky'. 

Advisor of brand and marketing to the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, Hosam Al-Qurashi described the festival as "a metaphor for the transformation of Riyadh", illuminating the city's "ambition to become one of the world’s most competitive and liveable cities by 2030."

We believe this initiative will have a profound and positive effect on enriching the lives of citizens, residents and visitors alike, bringing together a global community which sparks creative expression and creates an inclusive culture. 

Yayoi Kusama - Infinity Mirror Room - Brilliance of Souls, 2014. Mirror, wooden panel, LED, metal, acrylic panel, water, 287 x 415 x 415 cm. Courtesy of Royal Commission for AlUla. Photo © Riyadh Art 2021

The Program

The festival brings together over 60 artworks comprising large-scale public installations across Riyadh, created by international icons such as Daniel Buren, Carsten Höller, Lucio Fontana, teamLab, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Nancy Holt, Yayoi Kusama, Urs Fischer, Dan Flavin and Robert Wilson, alongside Saudi artists Ahmed Mater, Lulwah Al Homoud, Ayman Zedani, Rashed AlShashai and Maha Malluh.

The program also presents a landmark exhibition of light art titled Light Upon Light: Light Art since the 1960s.

In addition to the installations across the city, the festival also includes a program of over 270 special activities, such as tours, talks, workshops, family activities, film screenings and music. Many of these programs are available online, allowing the festival to be enjoyed by a wider global audience

Left: Lucio Fontana - Ambiente spaziale a luce rosso, 1967. 600 x 480 x 220 cm. Courtesy Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milano. Photo © Riyadh Art 2021 / Right: Karolina Halatek - Beacon, 2021. Mixed media, 685 cm height x 210 cm diameter. Courtesy the artist Photo © Riyadh Art

Practical Information

The Noor Riyadh festival will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia until June 12th, 2021, while a citywide installation program will be on view until April 3rd, 2021.

Part of Noor Riyadh, a Riyadh Art program, the exhibition Light Upon Light: Light Art since the 1960s will be on view at King Abdullah Financial District Conference Center (KAFD) in Riyadh until June 12th, 2021.

For a complete list of the exhibitions and special events, be sure to check out the official page of the festival.

teamLab - Flowers and People – A Whole Year per Hour, 2020. Interactive Digital Work, 12 channels (6 channels x 2 rows), endless. Sound: Hideaki Takahashi. Courtesy ©teamLab, Pace Gallery and Superblue

Dan Firman - Butterfly, 2007. Neon tubes, 350 x 635 cm. Courtesy the artist and the Farjam Collection Photo © Riyadh Art 2021
Ilya & Emilia Kabakov - The Cupola, 2003. Mixed media, 1400 cm diameter. Courtesy the artists. Photo © Riyadh Art
Iván Navarro - Podium, 2018. Neon light, plywood, one way mirror, glass and electric energy 77 x 208 x 197 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Templon, Paris-Brussels. Photo © Riyadh Art 2021
Leo Villareal - Corona, 2018. LED monitors, custom software and electrical hardware, 145.1 x 248.6 x 16.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist, Pace Gallery and Superblue. Photo © Riyadh Art 2021
Manal Al Dowayan - Nostalgia takes us to the sea but desire keeps us from the shore, 2010. Photograph with light elements, 250 x 155 cm. Courtesy of private collection. Photo © Riyadh Art 2021
Nancy Holt - Holes of Light, 1973. Partition wall perforated with circles and electric light. Dimensions variable. Courtesy Dia Art Foundation with support from Holt-Smithson Foundation. Photo © Riyadh Art 2021
Urs Fischer - Leo (George and Irmelin), 2019. Paraffin wax, microcrystalline wax, pigment, stainless steel, and wicks, 214.9 x 98.1 x 146.7 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian. Photo © Riyadh Art 2021
Left: Wang Yuyang - Artificial Moon, 2007. Energy saving lamps, metal frame, 400 cm diameter. Courtesy the artist and MASSIMODECARLO. Photo © Riyadh Art / Right: Squidsoup - Submergence, 2013-2021. Electronics, LEDs, computers, support structure, 768 x 1033 x 447 cm. Courtesy the artists and Light Art Collection. Photo © Riyadh Art

Carsten Höller - Light Wall (Outdoor Version), 2021. 1,100 LED bulbs, digital control unit, sound, steel panels, structural elements, wiring, cables, 600x400x275 cm. Unique. Courtesy the artist and MASSIMODECARLO

Featured images: Zaman Jassim - When the Moon is Full, 2021. Fiberglass, LED lights and video projection, 1000 x 1000 x 270 cm; Koert Vermeulen - Star in Motion, 2021. Steel, aluminium, LED lighting, Automatic lighting, control systems, 625 cm diameter; Ayman Zedani - Earthseed, 2021. 3-channel video installation, Dimensions variable; Angelo Bonello - Run Beyond, 2015. Iron and LED lights, 5300 cm. Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection; Abdullah AlOthman - Casino AlRiyadh, 2021. All images courtesy the artists. Photos © Riyadh Art.