When it took up residence at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 2013, Random International's immersive, ethereal installation Rain Room generated hours-long lines throughout its season.
In a darkened, 100-square-metre space, visitors step into a field of continuous rainfall – millions of water droplets that react to the audience's presence. The rain stops whenever movement is detected: you're fully immersed in a shower at the same time as you're shielded from it.
More than 500,000 people have seen Rain Room in London (at The Barbican in 2012), Shanghai (at the YUZ Foundation in 2015), Los Angeles (at LACMA in 2017) and at MoMA in New York. Two previous Melbourne seasons, in 2019 and 2021, were both sell-outs.
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“It’s an artwork that you inhabit, and as such, it can elicit any number of different socio-behavioural dynamics. Each iteration of the work has been altered in some intangible way by the space and context in which it has been shown, whether through the scent of the water, the fabric of the architecture, or the behaviour of the public," says Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass of Random International, a collaborative creative studio, in a statement provided to Broadsheet.
Now the artwork is returning to Melbourne for a third season, once again courtesy of hotelier and arts patron Louis Li, who also owns Black Star Pastry. The owner of Mornington Peninsula designer hotel Jackalope bought the installation for his Jackalope Art Collection, bringing one of the world's most famous contemporary works to live in Australia. The work will be presented in the purpose-built Jackalope Pavilion in St Kilda, designed by March Studio.
“Rain Room continues to be our most ambitious curation to date, a highlight in the Jackalope Art Collection,” Louis Li says in a statement. “I've experienced
Rain Room countless times and I never grow tired of it. It's completely immersive and allows you to remove yourself from the outside world for a brief period, engaging in a visceral and emotive experience.”
The Jackalope Art Collection also includes works by installation artist Olafur Eliasson, multi-disciplinary English artist Tracey Emin and Archibald Prize-winner Del Kathryn Barton.
Rain Room runs from November 1 to January 31 in the Jackalope Pavilion on the corner of Acland and Jackson streets in St Kilda, and tickets are on sale now from rainroom.com.au. The installation is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from midday–5pm; Fridays and Saturdays from 10am–9.30pm; and Sundays 10am–7.30pm. Child-friendly sessions are available.
Children (3+) and concession $19
Family (two adults, two children) $89