From: London, England. LA Opera: Don Giovanni (2023, debut).
Artist Es Devlin creates large-scale public art works and stage sculptures that combine light, music and language. The Imperial War Museum commission I Saw the World End (2020) invited viewers to engage simultaneously with opposing perspectives while the monumental 360-degree sculpture Memory Palace (2019) mapped shifts in human perspective over 73 millennia as a reminder that we have achieved profound alterations in our behavior and mindset in the past, and we can do so once again in response to the threat of extinction.
Her recent series of temporary forests drew on the Shakespearean tradition of the forest as a place of transformation in which characters enter in one state of mind and emerge having shifted their point of view. For Conference of the Trees at COP26, the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, she installed 197 trees as protagonists bearing witness to the decisions 197 countries might make about the future of the planet. Forest for Change at Somerset House in London in June 2021 invited visitors to engage with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
Her first large scale maze work, Mirrormaze (Peckham, London 2016), explored perforated cinema and memory and identity through reflective labyrinthine geometries. Her immense mirrored maze Forest of Us (2021) examines the striking visual symmetries between the structures within us that allow us to breathe and the structures around us that make breathing possible. Alongside work by James Turrell, it forms part of the inaugural exhibition at the new Superblue Miami arts center.
In Devlin's work, the viewer becomes a participant. She developed her deep understanding of the terms of audience engagement through two decades of collaborations in theater, designing The Lehman Trilogy (National Theatre, London; NYC; LA); Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch at the Barbican; A Number, Girls and Boys, The Nether (Royal Court); Chimerica, The Hunt (Almeida); Faith Healer (Donmar). Her work in opera includes Don Giovanni, Salome, Les Troyens and Mahagonny at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Carmen at the Bregenz Festival in Austria. Large scale productions include the London and Rio Olympic ceremonies and Super Bowl halftime shows with Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd. She has created some of the most renowned stage sculptures in collaborations with Beyonce, The Weeknd, Kanye West, U2, Jay Z, Florence and the Machine, Imogen Heap, Petshop Boys, Miley Cyrus and Billie Eilish, seen by mass audiences in stadiums and arenas around the world.