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Whether he is directing an opera or a play or designing a work for the theater or for a public space, Robert Wilson always starts with light. Without light, there is no space. Wilson has often said that time is a vertical line from the center of the earth to the heavens, and space is an endless horizontal line. This cross between time and space, this tension between the vertical and the horizontal, is the basic architecture of everything.

Reflecting on time, space, light, and the unique landscape of At-Turaif, Wilson has designed PALACE OF LIGHT, an installation that consists of two major elements. On the one hand, numerous individual light sources, or light gems, pulsing like stars, interacting with a silver sea that works as a reflective surface during the day and creates patterns on the adjacent façade when lit at night. On the other, a large copper dish rising from the sea, an artificial sun, juxtaposed to the moon of DAYDREAM, Wilson’s other work for Noor Riyadh 2021. A heartbeat in the desert – irradiating life – a light installation in constant evolution, testifying to both the fragility and resilience of life.

At-Turaif World Heritage Site


Robert Wilson

United States

Robert Wilson (b. 1941) is among the world’s foremost theater and visual artists. His works for the stage unconventionally integrate a wide variety of artistic media, including dance, movement, lighting, sculpture, music and text. After University Wilson founded the New York-based performance collective The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds in the mid-1960s, and developed his first signature works, including A Letter for Queen Victoria (1974-1975) and Deafman Glance (1970). With Philip Glass he wrote the seminal opera Einstein on the Beach (1976).

Wilson's drawings, paintings and sculptures have been presented around the world in hundreds of solo and group showings, and his works are held in private collections and museums throughout the world. Wilson has been honored with numerous awards for excellence, including the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale, an Olivier Award, two Premio Ubu awards and a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

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