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Light and Water Dance Together on Arizona Canal

Curators’ corner

Light and Water Dance Together on Arizona Canal

Few artists can change the face of a landscape like Grimanesa Amorós.

The Peruvian-born artist’s latest installation, Golden Waters, transforms the 50-mile-long Arizona Canal into an enthralling exhibition of light and dimension. Amorós arranged dozens of 162-foot-long LED tubes along the Scottsdale Waterfront radiating from Soleri Bridge and Plaza, a pedestrian pathway designed by architect and philosopher Paolo Soleri. Like Amorós’s exhibition, the bridge was commissioned by Scottsdale Public Art.

According to a Phoenix New Times article, Amorós and her team spent more than 4,000 hours creating Golden Waters.

“It was the first time I worked with water and also in the desert,” she told Architectural Digest. “It was 117 degrees one day, and it was quite a challenge.”

Amorós is known around the world for her remarkable light shows that combine technology and architecture to bring out an inner identity in a given space. In 2014, she dazzled New York City (where she does much of her work) with a similar light sculpture at 125 Maiden Lane in Manhattan’s Financial District.

The two-toned neon light trails of Golden Waters hover above the water, skimming it at certain points while entrancing viewers with a curving intertwinement of reflections. Architectural Digest notes that the display is a tribute to Arizona’s unique canal systems modeled after the 13th-century Hohokam tribe of the American Southwest.

“They had these pre-Incan canals that irrigated the whole desert, so I thought it would be interesting to make the canals visually active,” Amorós said. “When I got this opportunity, I didn’t want to just put my work on top of this canal, I wanted to learn about Arizona’s relationship with water and Soleri’s utopian vision. It’s all quite amazing.”

She furthered the sentiment in speaking to the Huffington Post:

“They developed an ingenious irrigation system that enabled them to become the most skillful farmers in the Southwest as early as 300 A.D.”

Incredible work and perspective from Grimanesa Amorós. Check out a few waters from Golden Waters below, and click here to see more of Amorós’s work.

Golden Waters will be on display at 4420 N. Scottsdale Road through September 30, 2015.

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