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Klimt illuminates La Fabrique des Lumières, Amsterdam’s new digital art center

The Westergasfabriek, a former gas factory and jewel of Dutch neo-Renaissance architecture, begins its program of exhibitions with “Gustav Klimt, gold and colors”. Overwhelming.

Lovers of Amsterdam rejoice: the Dutch Venice, city of culture with multiple museums, has one more: the Fabrique des Lumières, a brand new creation by Culturespaces. With its 1350 m2 of exhibition space, this former gas factory nestled on the last line of Amsterdam’s canals, the Westergasfabriek, a jewel of the Dutch neo-Renaissance style once dedicated to lighting the streets of Amsterdam, illuminates the city of Rembrandt with a completely different fuel: art.

To that of the temporary exhibitions which have been organized there since 2003 succeeds, since Friday April 22, 2022, a visual and musical art in which the public is invited to dive and live an experience “immersive“. This revolutionary technique, which through video, images and music, invites spectators to literally enter the work of a painter and discover it in a completely different way, offers an unprecedented journey. “Digital makes it possible to bring together works that the public will never see all together, and to give them a particular resonance, with music. », explains Bruno Monnier, founder and president of Culturespaces. “We are not an alternative to the museum, we are complementary“.

Some are alarmed that this augmented reality 2.0 could overshadow the museum, the traditional version, but statistics show that a first visit to the Atelier des Lumières in Paris, to the Carrières des Lumières des Baux de Provence, at the Bassins des Lumières in Bordeaux, the three immersive art centers administered by Culturespaces, led a significant number of visitors to the museum, a place previously unknown to this public, of which these digital works gave them a foretaste. “The real democratization of culture is the digital that allows it today», concludes Bruno Monnier.

At the Fabrique des Lumières, the public will discover the exhibition Klimt, new version. No sooner have you entered the great hall of the old factory, whose cisterns are still there, than you are taken by the magic of the lines that are drawn on the walls, the rotating chandeliers, the black and white archives. white of this end-of-the-century Vienna, of the color that appears and invades the space, of the opening music of Tannhauser by Wagner, who moves forward with restraint, swells, expands, lets the emotion rise, at the same time as the painted forms round out, bloom, explode in a shimmering symphony. The white facade decorated with red flowers and plant garlands of the Majolikahaus by Otto Wagner transports you to this artistic revolution that was the Secession, a reaction to the impasse of the neo-renaissance, neo-classical, neo-Gothic which Vienna had adorned itself until then until indigestion.

Nuda Veritas », proclaims the Secession, exchanging the dripping pastries of architecture and sculpture for the clear, refined, fluid lines inspired by Egypt, Byzantium or Samarkand. Here we are immersed in Klimt’s decorations, these geometric and golden shapes, this new aesthetic both rich and sober, this spring nature that we contemplate on a lied by Gustav Mahler. “I know what I want the audience to feelsmiles Gianfranco Iannuzzi, artistic director, alchemist of this magic in which he immerses visitors.

Some are motionless, others seated, contemplative, those who walk enrich this total spectacle with their shadows, projected on the walls by one of the hundred and some projectors. After two additional trips to Vienna since the launch of the exhibition at Les Baux de Provence, the artistic director of these digital art centers has reworked the exhibition, with the help of Ana Debenedetti, new head of exhibitions at Culturespaces, to which we owe the fine Botticelli exhibition to Jacquemart André. Some chapters have been changed, the scenario enriched with ten additional minutes of projection. The sublimated women of Klimt are succeeded by the tortured faces of Egon Schiele, and these lovers who we know whether they embrace or devour each other.

After the Klimt exhibition, the public is immersed in the brief and very dreamlike Hundertwasser exhibition, in the footsteps of the Secession, and in this strange, underwater world of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, where chimerical cities spring up like mushrooms, where the color falls in big drops to draw a strange and childish world. In the fall of 2022, visitors to the Fabrique des Lumières will discover a special exhibition by photographer Jimmy Nelson on the traditions of the Netherlands, their traditional costumes, their festivals, with a whole work on this particular northern light.

After Amsterdam, Seoul and New York will see the opening, on May 27 and September 8, 2022, of Theater of Lights and Hall of Lights. The objective of Culturespaces is the creation, within the next three years, of an immersive art center in all the main cities of Europe. Starting with Dortmund, Hamburg and Brussels. With an investment of ten to twelve million per project. And a name that will always include, whatever the country, the “lights», in French, a sign of this French touch appreciated abroad, of which Culturespaces has become one of the jewels.

Light Factory, Pazzanistraat 37, 1014 DB Amsterdam. www.factory-lights.com

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