River of Light returns to illuminate Liverpool waterfront next month with Unexpected Twist

An hugely popular illuminated art installation returns for a 17-night show.

The River of Light is back for another round of spectacular light and sound displays.

Running for 17 nights from Friday October 21 to Sunday November 6, the free event will showcase ten artworks from a host of local, national and international artists along Liverpool’s waterfront.

The installations will include a mix of brand new, never-before-seen commissions as well as existing artworks which haven’t been on display in the city before.

This year’s theme, Unexpected Twist is in celebration of the World Gymnastics Championships 2022, taking place in the city during the same period.

River of Light 2021. Image: Emma Dukes/LiverpoolWorld

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle, said: “River of Light is officially an autumn staple and we’re delighted to announce the trail is back this year in all its illuminated glory.

“This is our fifth year of staging this popular outdoor art gallery, but each year it has evolved – locations have been tweaked, different installations have been introduced and each time we work with new artists from all over the world who are aware of the event’s high-calibre reputation and want to be part of it which is a huge coup.

River of Light 2021. Image: Emma Dukes/LiverpoolWorld

“And this year’s trail comes at an incredibly busy and exciting time for the city – the World Gymnastics Championships 2022 will be taking over the M&S Arena and will act as the inspiration for this year’s River of Light instalment. And the eyes of the art world will already be on the city as Tate Liverpool plays host to The Turner Prize.

“Clearly Liverpool is the place to be this autumn.”

Last year’s event was the biggest yet, with around 150,000 visitors enjoying the festival.

What to expect

Full details of all ten pieces, the artists and their locations will be unveiled next month, but the team behind the trail has announced the first two pieces:

Evanescent is one of this year’s light installments.
  • BEAM – A brand new commission by the acclaimed Lucid Creates (artists Helen Swan and Chris Carr) will see a beam of light transport visitors to a hot, summer’s day, accompanied by the sounds of the British countryside. But after several minutes the feeling of peace and warmth will change to unease and suspense… Located at Canning Graving Dock, opposite Museum of Liverpool, the artists behind the work are no strangers to River of Light and have previously showcased large-scale artworks including 2021’s incredibly popular Dance Together – a huge tribute to the legendary nightclub Chibuku.
  • Evanescent – A series of giant bubbles will take over Exchange Flags courtesy of Australian artists Atelier Sisu. The immersive sound and light structure will react to visitors as they explore the artwork, depicting the transient nature of human existence. It has already been showcased in locations including Taiwan, the USA, Greece and Australia.