Starin Witnesses Barco Projection Bringing Art To Life

Last month I had the fortunate opportunity to travel to Paris for a week of rest and relaxation with my wife to celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Paris is one of our favorite travel destinations and it never fails to amaze with fantastic restaurants, shops experiences, and museums. 

On this occasion we had a chance to visit the “Atelier Des Lumieres” for an immersive art experience featuring three exhibits “Van Gogh, Starry Night / Dreamed Japan, Images of the Floating World / Verse”. All of which are projection mapped on to the interior walls and floor of the space - a beautifully renovated Parisian foundery with more than 100 PGWU-62L and 16 x F50 WUXGA projectors. 

After closing in the 1920s and falling into disuse for decades, the former foundry attracted the interest of Culturespaces, an arts foundation that had already launched a successful digital arts center in the southern French city of Baux-de-Provence.

After four years of intensive renovations, the foundry re-opened in a new incarnation, launching three simultaneous opening shows in the spring of 2018. After selling out tickets for months to the Gustav Klimt and Vienna Secession exhibit, the curators and artists behind the Atelier did it again with a sumptuous, immersive show on the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh.

Created by artists Gianfranco Lannuzzi, Renato Gatto, and Massimiliano Siccardi, and with original music from Luca Longobardi, the multisensory digital exhibit plunges you into a world that feels surprisingly rich and almost touchable, even though it’s purely ephemeral. Van Gogh painted an astonishing 200 plus paintings during the final ten years of his life, a feverish period of innovation and vision that the curators of this new digital exhibit have aimed to bring to life in a brave new way.

The visual and musical show retraces the tumultuous life and impassioned work of Van Gogh, from Starry Night (1889) to Bedroom at Arles (1889); from landscapes and self-portraits to still lifes and scenes from daily life. His stays in French towns and cities such as Arles, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Paris, and nearby Auvers-Sur-Oise are a theme throughout.

Getting Immersive in Paris

Bruno Monnier and Culturespaces, the company behind both Altier Des Lumieres and The Carrières de Lumières at Les Baux-de-Provence is a man on a mission. His goal is to totally immerse audiences in huge projections of major artworks such as Bosch, Breughel, and Arcimboldo. When Bruno Monnier discovered an old foundry in the 11th arrondissement of Paris in 2014, he immediately knew he had found the perfect location for l’Atelier des Lumières. After three years of renovation, Culturespaces called on the technical expertise of integrator Cadmos to furnish the venue. Cadmos equipped the former foundry with Barco projectors to depict paintings of Gustav Klimt and others on an amazing 35,000 square feet of projection space (walls, ceiling, and floor).

When Barco teamed up with Monnier to equip the quarry in Provence, they agreed to help work with him for the Paris venue as well. “Fortunately, our experience in Les Baux-de- Provence was very positive. Barco proved to be a real expert and the team is motivated and always ready to help. Most importantly, the more than 100 laser projectors that they installed project razor-sharp images with high contrast, thus depicting the images in the most lifelike way possible. The projectors are very reliable – a must as the exhibition runs 24/7 – require hardly any maintenance and are monitored remotely.” Bruno Monnier said.

Reaching a More Critical Audience

But replicating the Carrières would not be enough for the Paris audiences. Augustin de Cointet de Fillain, Director of Art and Music Immersive Experience at the Altier, explains: “Our Paris audience is different. While in Provence, we mainly welcome tourists, many art lovers visit the Atelier. They have a more critical eye and pay close attention to details. So we decided to add some extras to the location in Paris. At the Altier we make images move here and there, we play with mirrors, project on cylindrical surfaces and water, etc.” 

Top image quality was key, yet challenges abounded: it was not easy to project onto the 32-foot-high walls, and as the space is smaller, the audience is closer to the artwork and thus able to see more detail.

Inspiring People to Experience Art

To solve all of the challenges Barco installed 128 laser projectors in the space. In addition, Culturespaces added 16 F50 ‘panoramic’ WUXGA projectors with short-throw lenses. Together, the Barco stack presents the work of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Hundertwasser in breathtaking colors and detail. Bruno Monnier is happy: “Our mission is to make artwork accessible to as many people as possible and enable the art to bring people together. Our immersive concept really lets people experience art. As premier image quality is key to achieving that aim, we’ve found the best possible partner.”

Barco is a good partner for us because we both have the will to build something together. We engage with each other in order to lift the project upwards.

Augustin de Cointet de Fillain,
Director of Art and Music
Immersive Experience

See how Barco F90 projectors were used at Temple House in Miami to create another immersive experience.

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