Madrid International Festival of Light

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Past editions/2021/The Arboreal Axis

The Arboreal Axis
Javier Riera

29 and 30 October
From 8pm to midnight. Admission until 11.30pm

El Retiro Park
Jardín del Parterre. Acceso calle de Alfonso XII, puerta de Felipe IV

Recorrido accesible para personas en silla de ruedas ligado a la accesibilidad física del Parque de El Retiro.

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Javier Riera designs light projections in geometric shapes that fit directly onto plants and trees. On this occasion, he will project light onto the trees of El Retiro Park. He hopes that this modification of the surrounding greenery will awaken in onlookers an appreciation for the latent power of the environment, expanding their perception of nature.

The connection between geometry and the natural world becomes a meditative act; bridges are built to hidden characteristics and dimensions of the spaces in which they arise. In this piece, the artist superimposes two apparently opposing visual languages: the disorder of nature and the precision of geometry. A real-time intervention of space and time in a natural setting as part of a project evocative of Land Art. In Riera’s eyes, geometry is the language of nature prior to matter. In it he sees the potential for the creation of subtle and revelatory resonances.


Parterre, El Retiro Park: the Parterre Garden, with its open spaces and geometric forms, stands out from the rest of the park. It is the only space that conserves the original 17th-century layout. The garden’s French design was chosen by Phillip V of Spain, who commissioned its renovation. It is home to the Bald cypress tree (taxodium distichum), which is said to be over two centuries old and one of the oldest trees to inhabit the Spanish capital.

With the collaboration of