AlUla has been nicknamed “The World’s Masterpiece” by the public relations people at the Saudi Arabia tourism board, and while this moniker may sound like an exaggeration only fit for advertising purposes, it’s actually not far from the truth. Especially since Desert X started.
AIUla is an immense desert region (nearly 8,500 square miles) in the northwest of Saudi Arabia that is home to world-class archeological sites, including Hegra, a Petra-like ancient city designated as a UNESCO Heritage site; enormous sandstone mountains; and an oasis valley. And since February 11, 2022, it is also the location of the second Saudi edition of Desert X.
Desert X is an international contemporary art exhibit that happens every odd year in California’s Coachella Valley, and every even year in AIUla. This year’s Desert X, the second to take place in Saudi Arabia, has the themes of mirage and oasis — a perfect motif for the location.
@matadornetwork Jim Denevan, "Angle of Repose", installation view, #DesertX AlUla 2022, courtesy the artist and Desert X AlUla, video by Lance Gerber #SaudiArabia ♬ original sound – Simp Archives
15 international artists participated in this year’s exhibit, with specular large-scale installations.
“[…] participating artists have responded with new works that address dreams, camouflage, fiction, dis/appearance, extraction, illusion, and myth, while also examining the dichotomy between the natural and man-made worlds,” a press release from Desert X explains.
Below are the 15 dream-like installations on view until March 30, 2022, in AIUla, Saudi Arabia.