In preparation for the 2023 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, artists from around the world were selected to transform the desert landscape. This year's edition features the massive sculptural works by Kumkum Fernando, Vincent Leroy, Güvenç Özel, and Maggie West, which permeate the skyline with architectural shapes, bright colors, and opalescent details. From towering robotic figures to larger-than-life flora, these eye-catching pieces envelop the festival with vibrancy and creativity.
While Coachella is commonly known for its musical aspect, art plays a major role in setting the atmosphere and enhancing the experience of the festival. “In selecting projects from around the world, our intention is to bring together artists, architects, and designers whose practices invite participation, inclusion, and transformation,” says curatorial advisor Raffi Lehrer. “We strive to create a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural program that reflects our audience and the many performing artists that grace the stages of the festival. The resulting works will become icons—part of the identity of this year's show. These installations act simultaneously as way-finding markers, points of congregation, and most importantly, accessible entry points for show-goers to experience art.”
Each year, the festival has grown artistically, attracting talented creatives to display their work as well as numerous fans to see the installations in person. “The arts program has evolved significantly since inception and the participants, who come from around the world and from Southern California are well-respected in their fields, presenting extraordinary and thoughtful works in a setting where they can inspire, inform, and invite direct engagement with art and current social and cultural themes and ideas,” adds Paul Clemente, the manager of the art program for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. “It is a unique aspect of this Festival, and we really endeavor to carry that spark into the community and adjacent school programs and our on-site Coachella Arts Studios.”
Coachella is held over two consecutive weekends, this year being April 14 to April 16, and April 21 to April 23, 2023. Scroll down to see more photos of the spectacular installations from 2023 and to learn about some of the inspiration behind the art.
Take a look at some of the massive art installations from the Coachella 2023 music and arts festival.
The Messengers by Kumkum Fernando
Sri Lankan-born and Vietnam-based artist Kumkum Fernando drew inspiration from South Asian art and architecture for his installation. Titled The Messengers, it includes three large-scale figures measuring between 65 and 80 feet and covered with an array of bright colors and prints. The assemblage of different patterns is inspired by Fernando's collection of various objects and items that he has accumulated.
“Whenever I travel, I collect and document,” he says. “I have a library that I go through at different points in time. When I put them together, I often see unexpected things. I made a series of work completely out of window grills, another series from patterns from Persian rugs, and another from temple patterns. One day, I was arranging objects, and they appeared to form a figure. Then I thought I should make figures with these patterns.”
Kumkum Fernando: Website | Instagram
Eden by Maggie West
Los Angeles-based artist Maggie West brings spring to the desert with her installation Eden. Featuring photographs of a variety of plants in two color schemes (pinks and blues), West added these floral images to 20 steel structures, each covered with wood and vinyl. The garden includes structures that measure from 6 to 46 feet tall, making it one of the world's largest 3D photography installations.
“By photographing familiar objects with multicolored lights, my work helps viewers look closer at some of the nature that they might take for granted,” West explains, “like the texture of the snake plants and the stamens in the centers of the lilies.”
Maggie West: Website | Instagram
Holoflux by Güvenç Özel
Holoflux is a 60-foot-tall sculpture by LA-based artist Güvenç Özel. Abstract in form, this piece appears white by day, and by night, the sculpture comes alive through various lighting features like projections, graphics, and even video that cover its many sides.
“I consider myself a cyber physical architect and a critical technologist,” Özel says. “Cyber physical, meaning the work covers cyberspace and physical environments and the interaction between the two. Critical technologist, meaning engaging with new technological tools—their meaning, their impact on our social interactions, their impact on our environmental and political considerations, and how we can create more meaningful and engaging experiences to enhance the way that we socialize and communicate with each other.”
Güvenç Özel: Website | Instagram
Molecular Cloud by Vincent Leroy
Paris-based artist Vincent Leroy brings buoyancy to the festival through his installation Molecular Cloud. As its name suggests, this pink, multi-part piece is based on the shapes of molecular clouds. Rather than being fixed to the ground, these inflatable objects are suspended in the air, reflecting the surroundings on their shiny, surface. Due to the changeable nature of this piece, it comes as no surprise that Leroy's art is based on the kind of movement that “inspires life, amazement, and a permanently shifting viewpoint.”
Vincent Leroy: Website | Instagram
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival: Website | Instagram | Facebook
My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
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