Rain Room opens in Sharjah

His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, member of the Federal Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, opened Rain Room (2012) in Sharjah yesterday, marking the installation’s Middle East debut. Also, in attendance were HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development; HE Eng Khalid Bin Butti Al Muhairi, Chairman of the Directorate of Sharjah Survey and Town Planning; HE Khaled Bin Butti Al Hajri, Director of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry; HE Thabit Salim AlTarifi, Director General of Sharjah City Municipality and HE Eng Khalid Mohammed Al Ali, Sharjah Urban Planning Council Secretary General.

A site-specific installation by Random International, Rain Room will be permanently sited in Sharjah’s Al Majarrah Park. Previously on view internationally, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2015–2017); Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2015); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013) and Barbican Centre, London (2012), Rain Room is the first of a series of permanent installations Sharjah Art Foundation has planned for sites across the Emirate.

‘The Rain Room has found a permanent home at Sharjah Art Foundation, is a humbling thought,’ said Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass of Random International. ‘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.’

His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, opening the Rain Room.

‘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. We began planning the Sharjah Rain Room from that time,’ said Sharjah Art Foundation Director Hoor Al Qasimi. ‘Over the years we have exhibited a number of large-scale immersive installations through the Sharjah Biennials and our regular exhibitions programme, but this is the first of a series of projects that are planned as permanent works in locations across the Emirate.’

An immersive work by the London-based collective Random International, Rain Room is an installation in which perpetual rainfall pauses wherever and whenever someone moves through the space. Visitors are thereby both exposed to and protected from the continuous rain. Enhancing sense and instinct, the artwork forms an intersection between technology and nature.

Using recycled water that is continuously tested and carefully treated, Rain Room is equipped with self-cleaning filters and requires a relatively small amount of water.

Rain Room is the first of a series of permanent installations Sharjah Art Foundation has planned for sites across the Emirate.

Rain Room’s permanent location in Al Majarrah Park continues and expands Sharjah Art Foundation’s commitment to the local community. After in-depth research and surveys were conducted with the area’s residents, the site of the Rain Room was chosen and specially constructed to emphasise public participation and engagement.

Tickets to Rain Room can be purchased online or directly at the venue. For more information, click here.