Guggenheim Bilbao turns 20! Eyes focused on “Reflections” tonight

by Cecilia Di Marzo
14 Love 6119 Visits

From 11-14 October, the shimmering exterior surfaces of the Guggenheim Bilbao, Frank Owen Gehry’s iconic building, will be transformed into a unique, sensory experience in Reflections, a spectacular projection mapping commission by 59 Productions, to celebrate the museum’s 20th Anniversary with the citizens.

A 20-minute show – combining music, light and projection - sponsored by the City of Bilbao, the Provincial Council of Biscay, and Iberdrola, Reflections will be played on a loop across four evenings, and is anticipated to draw in crowds of more than 200,000 spectators as one of the major events of the Museum’s celebration year.

Some of the most iconic artworks that surround the Museum building will have a hand in the transformations. The metalwork will become reflective and spherized like Anish Kapoor’s sculpture Tall Tree and The Eye; Louise Bourgeois’ giant spider Maman will send its huge shadow skittering across the building; and Jeff Koons’ flower-covered Puppy will propagate flowers that will bloom across the building’s surfaces.

Artist Jeff Koons said: “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. It is really enjoyable for me to see my work covering the entire Museum; I think it works as a mutual homage of sorts.”

Using cutting-edge technology, Reflections will turn the north-facing facades of the Museum into a canvas for bespoke animations, celebrating two decades of cultural transformation in Bilbao.

Audiences will witness the genesis of the building, represented in Gehry’s now-iconic continuous-line sketch, and watch the (then) cutting-edge Catia computer modelling process devised for designing aeroplanes calculate the impossible curves and variations for the titanium cladding.

Leo Warner, Director and founder of 59 Productions, said: "Reflections will send 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. The curves and facets of the building will also be transformed into living organisms—the surface will become fish scales, bird plumage, crystalline facets, and rusted, decayed metal, before 'breaking down' into digital particles as the driving musical composition brings us into the computer age".

Gehry once said of his creation that "the randomness of the curves are designed to catch the light". Reflections will take his words as a provocation to explore the story of the museum through the medium of light and shadow, re-presenting its geographical environment to audiences.

As Director General of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Juan Ignacio Vidarte, said: "It was very important for us to conceive an exceptional event to celebrate the Anniversary and share it with the people that are close to us: the citizens that we have so much to thank for. Working together, an extraordinary transformation has been possible in Bilbao conveying to the world the message of how art changes everything. Reflections will be a unique, once-in-a-lifetime show".

Reflections. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao 20th Anniversary Celebration
Dates: 11, 12, 13, 14 October 2017
Times: 20:30–23:00 h
Duration: approximately 20 min.
Free admission

If you are unable to attend, watch the live show in streaming tonight, 9:30 to 11 pm (UTC/GMT +2)

Reflections: Behind the Scenes - Guggenheim Bilbao's 20th Anniversary Show from 59 Productions on Vimeo.

Guggenheim Bilbao


    Guggenheim Bilbao 75

    Guggenheim Bilbao

    Bilbao / Spain / 1997