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Vienna in Provence

October 24, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

I usually don’t blog about anything but literature. Today’s a bit different. I’ve been to the Carrières de Lumière in Les Baux-de-Provence, in the South of France. Imagine, you’re in a quarry transformed into a showroom. The quarries are no longer exploited but were used to extract stone to build the nearby village of Les Baux de Provence. The quarry has been covered to create a unique space to project multimedia shows. You’re in the quarry, the walls are about 10 meters high, there’s a ceiling to have the audience in the dark. You wander in the former quarry and images are projected on the stone walls of the quarry.

There’s currently a multimedia show entitled “Klimt and Vienna. A century of gold and colours”. It starts with pictures of Vienna and the art of the time before Klimt and other artists started the Vienna Secession movement. Then you see pictures by Klimt and Schiele. To go further in the century, there are pictures of Hundertwasser’s work.

It’s an incredible experience. We were surrounded by images from floor to ceiling and bathed in a musical soundtrack of the time. It felt like being in the paintings instead of watching them or like passing through the canvas and entering the world of the artist. It’s a fantastic experience and I wanted to share it. It’s totally different from contemplating paintings in a museum. You know how it is, it’s hard to forget your environment, the people walking around you. Here, you’re in a dark space, the sound of other people is drowned in the music and it feels like being in an enchanted artistic world.

I’ve taken pictures with my phone; they’re not great but might help you imagine what it felt like. Have you ever been to that kind of show?



Hundertwasser (1)

DSC_0827See the people on the photo compared to the size of the image? Look at the floor.

  1. October 25, 2014 at 1:58 am

    Oh, this would be wonderful! What a clever idea:)


    • October 25, 2014 at 8:43 am

      It’s truly wonderful.


  2. October 25, 2014 at 9:06 am

    I love Klimt’s work and this show looks amazing, a truly immersive experience. Thanks for sharing it.


    • October 25, 2014 at 9:29 am

      It was amazing, Jacqui. And animated. I don’t know how to explain this in English. They picked details of the paintings and make them come of of the picture to emphasize. The colours were incredible and with the music coming over the sounds of the other visitors, I had the impression to be alone. Fantastic. It lasts until January.
      They’re doing another show about the Italian Renaissance in March. I wonder if it’s going to be like a journey into the past.


      • October 26, 2014 at 10:02 am

        Wonderful. Love the idea of transforming Klimt’s paintings into a multidimensional experience, like a form of installation art. The Italian Renaissance show sounds like a must-see.


        • October 27, 2014 at 10:24 pm

          It seems great yes.


  3. October 27, 2014 at 3:00 am

    A coincidence! I just bought a copy of Klimt’s Sea Serpents and had it framed. Now it’s hanging on the wall.


    • October 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      What a coincidence indeed.


  4. October 30, 2014 at 10:08 am

    This is not for me. The actual size of a painting is so important – blowing it up like a balloon – I’m really not sure about that. While I find Schiele fantastic I’m not keen on Klimt anymore. He’s been abused by decorators. There’s nothing you can buy from toilet seats to cushions where there isn’t one available with his prints. It’s sad. I suppose I would still like him otherwise.


    • October 31, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      It’s a different way to enjoy paintings. It doesn’t replace going to a museum and seeing the original but it’s a great approach nevertheless.
      I understand your feeling about Klimt being too monetized. I have the same problem with Monet; I don’t enjoy his work as much as I used to. Or maybe my tastes have evolved.


  5. ,LRJ
    October 31, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    ThIs looks great and you wrote such a nice article. Thanks for posting this!


    • October 31, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      Thanks for the message LRJ. It’s less daunting than a museum and I hope that kind to experience can attract new spectators. It is also great for children, it’s easier than staying put and silent in a museum.


  6. November 11, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    That looks just stunning. I’m terribly jealous, and glad you got to see it. Thanks for sharing it.

    The scale is remarkable. I particularly love how the colours on the third photo down, the city, shine in that context. Beautiful.


    • November 11, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      I’m so glad we stopped by on our way home.

      I loved it. I think it’s an interesting way to experience art and it was great for the children. It’s less formal than a museum.

      It will be there until January. So, if you’re looking for an idea of week-end, it’s in Provence and the area is lovely.


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