Want to Get Lost Inside Art?: These Immersive Exhibitions Are Pulling In New Audiences

  • July 14, 2020 14:49

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In 2018, Culturespaces in partnership with TMONET, a Korean company, opened a digital art center in South Korea, the Bunker of Lights, located in a former command bunker under a hill in Jeju, an island in the Pacific Ocean.
Located in an old Bordeaux submarine base is the Bassins de Lumières.

Paris-based Culturespaces creates immersive digital exhibitions at varied sites worldwide and manages arts and heritage sites across France. Millions have stepped into the private company's digital art centers, showcasing works by such artists as Marc Chagall, Yves Klein, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, projected across surfaces with a soundtrack to go along.

A new show, featuring the art of Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee and more in Bassins de Lumières,” or “Basins of Light,” opened on June 10 in Bordeaux, France, after a coronavirus lockdown lifted. A former World War II submarine base has been transformed for the experience with dazzling, monumental digital projections of artworks illuminating architecture and saltwater pools. About 350,000 visitors are expected.


"With its “Lumières” experiences, Culturespaces is pushing the boundaries between entertainment and art, and between real life and virtual reality," writes Valeriya Safronova for the New York Times. Some critics note that because of the entertainment value of the experience, viewers miss out on the real art's scale and nuances seen only in-person.

Advantages exist to the model, which has its own set of costs, says Culturespaces president Bruno Monnier to the New York Times: “We can work with images of the painting and not the real painting itself. That means no transportation, no security service, no insurance.”

Bassins de Lumières in Bordeaux, France.

Monnier says this digital art experience also draws “people who never go to museums, younger generations, guys and girls who are 16-year-olds walking around hand in hand, families, grandparents, young parents.”

New art centers and immersive exhibitions are being planned for Dubai and other locations. 

For now, get a sneak peek at Bassins de Lumières, here on YouTube. Or view van Gogh at Atelier des Lumières in Paris, which opened in 2018, shown on YouTube with "Vincent" sung by Jim van der Zee.

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