Is This the Future—or the End—of Art? A Selfie-Centric Art Space Opens in Paris With a Show of Klimt Projections

The new Atelier des Lumières opens with light installations inspired by Klimt and Schiele.

Simulation of the immersive exhibition "Gustav Klimt"– Atelier des Lumières. © Culturespaces / Nuit de Chine.

Have you ever wanted to set foot inside the gold-leaf world of a Gustav Klimt painting? Now you can. The immersive digital exhibition center Atelier des Lumières is opening its doors today in Paris with three projection-based exhibitions, one of which includes monumentally scaled golden Klimt figures and frescoes, as well as the artist’s Beethoven Frieze, towering high above visitors’ heads just like in the actual Vienna Secession building.

Paris’s new “studio of lights” is housed in a former foundry with a 16,000-square-foot exhibition hall. Using 140 laser video projectors and a spatialized sound system, the space in Paris’s 11th arrondissement transforms artists’ biographies and work into immersive technicolor shows.

Besides Klimt, there is an Egon Schiele experience and another one devoted to emerging artists, who have been given digital “carte blanche.” Next up will be an exhibition on the late Viennese artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasse, who was inspired by the Secession movement.

Simulation of the exhibition “Gustav Klimt.” Photo: E. Spiller, © Culturespaces.

The main exhibition begins with a picture of the neoclassical scene in Vienna, showing architecture of the city’s Kunsthistoriches Museum and the Austrian National Theater, which both house frescoes by Klimt. The story then introduces Klimt, the Vienna Secession, and its famous building, before moving on to the artist’s gold period and nature scenes. It then dives into the work of Egon Schiele before looping back to Klimt and culminating in his portraiture of women, including such well-known works as Serpents aquatiques II (Les Amies) (1904-07).

A classical soundtrack of music by Richard Wagner, Chopin, and, of course, Beethoven accompany the program.

Gustav Klimt’s Serpents aquatiques II (Les Amies), (1904-1907). Private collection. Photo: © Akg-Images/Erich Lessing.

The new center is operated by the private museum management firm Culturespaces, which also runs the multimedia Carrières de Lumières in a former quarry outside Paris. Culturespaces’ presdent Bruno Monnier said in a statement that sensory-based, digital art experiences represent the future of art exhibitions: “The passive observation of works of art is no longer relevant.”

“Gustav Klimt” is on view until December 31. “Hundertwasser, in the Wake of the Vienna Secession” is on view until November 11 at Ateliers des Lumières, Paris. 

Egon Schiele, Les Bas verts. (1917). Collection privée
Photo: © Bridgeman Images.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser, 691 Irinaland sur les Balkans (1969). © 2018 NAMIDA AG, Glarus/Switzerland. Courtesy of The Hundertwasser Nonprofit Foundation, Vienna.

Gustav Klimt, La Vierge (1912-1913). Prague, Narodni Galerie (Galerie
Nationale) © akg-images / Erich Lessing.


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