The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a dazzling light show. The show, which was produced by 59 Productions, lasted for four days from the 11th until the 14th of October. The innovative studio used the gleaming surfaces of the Spanish museum as a giant canvas for their projection mapping light show.
Music, projection, and light joined together in a 20-minute-long production that was displayed on the northern facades. This artistic blend told the museum’s story of how it was inspired, created, and designed.
The light show utilized Catia computer modeling technology which was developed originally for designing jets. The display started with Gehry’s continuous-line design, then moved to the most important pieces of the museum’s collection. One of the acts, that featured the façade’s reflectivity and complemented its undulations, was the Tall Tree and The Eye sculpture by Anish Kapoor. Another act was inspired by the flower-covered puppy of Jeff Koons and featured blossoming floral shapes and patterns all across the canvas. The huge spider sculpture “Maman” of Louise Bourgeois took part in the show as well by spreading a daunting shadow across the museum.
“I think a show like Reflections, which will dramatically transform the iconic building of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao with hundreds of textures, colors, and stories, is definitely something to see,” commented artist Jeff Koons before commencing the event. “It is really enjoyable for me to see my work covering the entire Museum; I think it works as a mutual homage of sorts.
The production is a narrative story that combines architecture and light reflections to highlight the assets of the building: ”The randomness of the curves are designed to catch the light.”
“Reflections [sent] the Guggenheim Bilbao on a fast-forward journey through a whole year of weather and seasons with clouds whipping by overhead and delicate aurorae reflected in its tiles, subjecting it to burning sunlight and the lashings of violent thunderstorms,” explained Leo Warner- founder and director of 59 Productions.
“The curves and facets of the building [were] transformed into living organisms—the surface [became] fish scales, bird plumage, crystalline facets, and rusted, decayed metal, before ‘breaking down’ into digital particles as the driving musical composition [brought] us into the computer age.”