After immersing viewers in the world of Vincent Van Gogh and guiding customers through the Klimt revolution, Lighthouse Immersive returns to the Impressionist movement that took place in France in the late 1800s.
“Immersive Monet & The Impressionists” is largely centered on the works of Claude Monet and features the works of 20 other artists – including Édouard Manet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, JMW Turner and Paul Cezanne.
Creator of the show “Massimiliano Siccardi always likes to do more than just an artist and he realized that what many people never really understood was that the Impressionists and Monet were part of a specific era in the history of France,” said Richard Ouzounian. , creative consultant at Lighthouse Immersive.
“They painted the way they did because of what came before them and what was to come after. So the show tackles that by taking us to Paris around 1874, where the first Impressionist exhibition was held, and keeps us there for about 15-20 years, until Impressionism faded or people who painted him went to other fields.
To complete the time travel element, the show also features music from this period with compositions by French composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel and music composed by Luca Longobardi reminiscent of music from this period.
“Luca felt the pull of that time when the music that was being written was very close to art and this is the first show where he doesn’t have popular songs, he just music of the time,” Ouzounian said.
For this reason, the show begins by staging what France might have looked like at that time by showing a sea of hot air balloons.
“(The balloons) have a lot of historical and artistic significance because France was coming out of a very bad period,” Ouzounian said.
“Just before this move there was the Franco-Prussian war where they besieged Paris for two years and no food could get in. The only way food could get in is sometimes if a hot air balloon was floating over the line and falling food parcels on the city.
“So it became a symbol and when the war was over people loved to go for walks with it.”
Not only were hot air balloons a symbol of hope for the French at that time, but it was also in a hot air balloon studio belonging to Félix Tournachon – better known by his professional name, “Nadar” – that the first impressionist exhibition. in 1874.
After acquainting viewers with 19th-century France, the 500,000 cubic feet of screening space transforms into an immersive iteration of some of the era’s most notable works.
Among them, “Impression, Soleil Levant” or “Impression Sunrise” by Monet and “Saint-Lazare station: arrival of a train”, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe or “Pique-nique sur l’herbe” by Manet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s posters for the Moulin Rouge – which was so popular that people often roamed the streets to tear down the posters and frame.
From there, the show kicks off showing Monet’s most famous works, his sunflowers.
“Everyone wants to see Monet’s Sunflowers, so the show gives us minutes of Monet’s Sunflowers and other artists’ flowers, but then it goes to different sides of Paris,” Ouzounian said.
It was an easy task to exhibit as the Impressionists were among the first artists to capture reality in the most ironic sense.
“The irony is that because they weren’t trying to paint reality, they ended up capturing reality better,” Ouzounian said. “It’s a great paradox in a wonderful way of impressionism.”
This is best exemplified by the works of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, whose paintings focused on ordinary people.
“It’s hard for us to believe now, but it was never done,” Ouzounian said. “(Painting) a group of people sitting in a cafe, drinking wine and laughing, that wasn’t the kind of material you painted in those days.”
Not only did the Impressionists reverse the script on what was painted, but they also innovated the way people painted.
“The Impressionists painted with shorter brushstrokes and they also used a lot of brightly colored paints because at that time the paint was already mixed in zinc tubes,” Ouzounian said. “So an artist could go out with 15 of their favorite colors and just paint.
It was especially useful when they were painting outdoors, which they loved to do. This was another sign of the impressionists, they did what they called “en plein air” painting in the open air, and they used natural light.
With a show that departs sharply from popularized shows centered around a singular artist, Ouzounian believes this show best exemplifies the goal of Lighthouse Immersive.
“One of the things Massimiliano Siccardi still believes in is that art doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” he said. “That’s why this show is very grounded in the times of people and everything around them.”