Atelier des Lumières Journeys Around the Mediterranean

Immersive is the right word.

You are immersed in a very dark room and must let your vision adjust then you begin to see light, hear sound and things move. You are surrounded by Monet, Renoir, Chagall, Dufy. By the Mediterranean. You are immersed in the sea of light. Then you hear Ella Fitzgerald sing “Summertime” and you resurface to sing and even dance. You are immersed in what is going on around you. You don’t want to leave.

Journeys Around the Mediterranean
‘Monet, Renoir, and Chagall: Journeys Around the Mediterranean’
© Culturespaces/Nuit de Chine Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Le Lavandou (detail), 1894, oil on canvas, private collection; Claude Monet: Woman With Umbrella Turned Towards the Right (detail), 1886, oil on canvas, 131 x 88 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Antibes (detail), 1888, oil on canvas, 65.5 x 92,4 cm, Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London; Palm Trees at Bordighera (detail), circa 1884, oil on canvas, 61.3 x 74 cm, private collection, Photo © Lefevre Fine Art Ltd., London – all the preceding images: © Bridgeman Images.

140 cameras and a spatialised sound system in a surface area of 3,300 m2 project gigantic luminous paintings on the 3 story walls and floor (watch your step it is not flat!) of this fully restored former nineteenth-century foundry in the middle of Paris. The industrial past is still quite present. Your co-watchers silhouettes make up more of the décor. THE IMMERSIVE EXHIBITION ‘MONET, RENOIR, AND CHAGALL: JOURNEYS AROUND THE MEDITERRANEAN’ is a very unusual experience that draws you in. One friend said she went three time to see the previous show on Klimt last year. You can become quite attached to this experience.

 Journeys Around the Mediterranean
Monet, Renoir, and Chagall: Journeys Around the Mediterranean’
Photo: © Dominique Chauvet © Culturespaces/Nuit de Chine

The show is divided into 7 parts. The impressionists are in part 2 and I don’t really know why as they project scenes of Paris whereas the theme here is Journeys Around the Mediterranean (probably because the big names of impressionism never fail to draw people in). Then though we are back on track with highlights that link artistic creativity and the Mediterranean shores, as the principal centres of the modernist movement. The exhibition will immerse visitors in the masterpieces of twenty artists, including Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, Matisse, Signac, Derain, Vlaminck, Dufy, and Chagall, amongst others. In the 1880s, the Mediterranean attracted many artists: abandoning Paris and the northern regions, they flocked to the southern shores, between Collioure and Saint-Tropez. It was at this point that they developed a new approach to the representation of light and colour. In seven sequences lasting forty minutes total, visitors are taken from one artistic movement to another: from Impressionism, with Monet and Renoir, to Pointillism with Signac and Cross, and Fauvism with Camoin, Derain, Vlaminck, and Marquet … and, of course, Matisse. The immersive exhibition also retraces the fascination of Bonnard and Dufy for the Mediterranean, and eventually focuses on one of the greatest colourists of modern art- Chagall. The unique style of each painter is illustrated: Matisse’s colours, Bonnard’s depth, Dufy’s insouciance, and Chagall’s audaciousness.

‘Journey’ will be presented in LA HALLE, after ‘Monet, Renoir, and Chagall’ and ‘Yves Klein: Infinite Blue’.

The two short shows are interesting too. The contemporary Journey describes how photons pass thought all the layers of the eye. And Yves Klein Infinite Blue is mostly yellow!

The Atelier des Lumières is also about the restoration of a heritage site-that of the former Plichon iron foundry. Established in the nineteenth century in the heart of the east of Paris, the foundry is for Culturespaces an essential part of the artistic experience. Rather than being a mere complement, the venue-with its spaces, history, and industrial character has forged (good pun for a foundry!) the project’s identity. Thanks to its monumental architecture, highlighted by the original metal structure that spans the great hall, the former iron foundry provides the ideal setting for these digital exhibitions. In La Halle visitors will find various monumental features (a chimney, drying tower, pool,water tank, etc.) that have been converted to enable the visitors to enjoy interactive experiences.

Its a great place to visit on a hot afternoon. Masks are required and the lines are well organized. Traffic flow in the dark is an experience, but generally if you go late in the day just at the last hour the doors close behind you and the crowds thin. You are immersed. You don’t want to leave.

Atelier des Lumieres 38, rue Saint-Maur 75011 Paris

Métro : lines 9 (Voltaire, Saint-Ambroise), 3 (Rue Saint-Maur), and 2 (Père Lachaise)

OPENING TIMES through January 2021

Open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and in the evening on Fridays and Saturdays until 10 p.m. and on Sundays until 7 p.m.

The exhibitions will be projected continuously: there are no fixed viewing times. The cultural gift shop is open during the venue’s opening times.

Online booking required.

Pricey though at 15€ per head. Try to get the family, senior or reduced tarif.

Journeys Around the Mediterranean #atelierdeslumieres

While in the neighborhood stop for a Lemon mint tarte chez Emma Duverier 41 rue Sedaine. Another imersive sensory experience. Wow.