The Sharjah Art Foundation in the United Arab Emirates has opened an installation of the London-based collective Random International’s work Rain Room (2012). The work, which will now be permanently sited at Al Majarrah Park, is the first in a series of projects that the Sharjah Art Foundation has slated for various sites around the UAE.
The installation, which has attracted long lines at each venue where it’s been exhibited, allows visitors to enter a chamber where water droplets appear to fall around visitors. Yet, thanks to carefully programmed technology, viewers inside the installation never get wet, and the drops appear to magically hover around visitors. Although the Rain Room has received mixed reviews from critics, it has been a hit with the public—when it was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, visitors waited up to 12 hours to go inside the work.
Rain Room has also previously been exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Barbican Centre in London. Another permanent version of the Rain Room is housed at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai.
“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 Sharjah Art Foundation’s director, Hoor Al Qasimi, said in a statement. “We began planning the Sharjah Rain Room from that time.”