Sunday, July 14, 2019

Paris in July

Thyme for Tea is hosting "Paris in July"

This is a repost from our daily recaps of our trip. Additional photos have been added.

April 2019 - Paris France

I had spotted this museum, for want of a better word, on Facebook in March and immediately booked our tickets. It is considered to be Paris' first digital art center featuring 120 video-projectors and a spatial discrete audio (50 Nexo speakers with controlled directivity) for immersive exhibitions.

Our tickets were for 10 AM opening time. It was too far to walk so we took a cab, 30 euros but worth the drive through crazy Paris traffic, plus it gave us our directions back to the hotel.

38 Rue Saint-Maur

l’Atelier des Lumières hardly seems to stand out when we arrive, it is closed up.

We found a local cafe and ordered coffee and croissants. OOPS coffee meant a tiny cup of espresso.

When we headed back to the museum the line was growing. Eventually they split the group into ticket holders so we were the second couple in line and another line for those who were buying tickets.

Lots of rules.

l’Atelier des Lumières is definitely going to become to become one of Paris’s newest "must-see" spots.

Situated  on the right bank between Bastille, République and Le Marais it is set in a former smelting plant from the 19th century.  The former iron foundry created in 1835 by the PLICHON family was given a makeover.

We walk into the foundry and are surrounded by towers, bare walls and an illuminated water tank

We get our bearings in the darkness Then music blasts around the room and sets thousands of images in motion. We’re mesmerized as 360-degree views of artworks flash around the room.

Using state-of-the-art visuals and audio, artists’ works are transformed as images of their paintings are projected (using 140 laser video projectors) on to (and across) 10-metre-high walls over the vast 3,300 square metre surface area of the renovated 19th-century building. These images provide an immersive and panoramic show throughout the space, to a sound track of music by Wagner, Chopin, Beethoven and others, using an innovative “motion design” sound system, with 50 speakers programmed to complement the 3D visual experience.

Vincent van Gogh’s life is the focus of an immersive experience with hundreds of the Dutchman’s paintings transformed using art and music technology.

For 35 minutes, visitors roam around his work, from the dreamy Sunflowers (1888) to the tormented spires of Starry Night (1889).


Large blobs of paint – purple, pink, green, yellow, orange – are scattered on the walls, floor and ceiling. His paintbrush is hurriedly introduced: deep, decisive brush strokes turning the bareness of the foundry into a colourful space.

One of the most striking elements of the exhibition is the use of contemporary music. Nina Simone’s Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood plays as we view some of the famous works, including The Siesta which Van Gogh painted while living in an asylum; the words of the song mirror a cry for understanding in his time of darkness.

Finally we hear heavy rain getting louder as a stormy sky emerges overhead. Wheat rustles in the breeze and the golden hues of Wheat Field with Crows brighten up the floor. 

As the crows take flight overhead, you can no longer see the sky. In its place are Van Gogh’s self-portraits.

A short program shown between screenings explains the influence of Japanese art on Van Gogh’s work. A specially commissioned piece, Dreamed Japan: Images of the Floating World, depicts the simple beauty of cherry blossoms, geishas, samurai warriors and spirits. 

Waves crash around us to the sound of Claude Debussy’s The Sea and to the fast beat of the Japanese drums.


  1. The popularity of immersive experiences to extend one's perception of art and other things is a really great extension of the usual museum presentations. I've only read a few accounts of these new spaces, and I'm looking forward to being able to share this concept at one soon. Your description is really neat.

    best... mae at

  2. Jackie, I tried to send a direct reply on your comment to me but no-reply, no email so thank you for coming. I was excited when you told me you were posting this. Visiting the Atelier was one of the most remarkable experiences in art I've ever had and although my show was different (Klimt) the experience, I think would be much the same. I always hate to oversell -- it can breed disappointment (I was the person in the world who wasn't knocked out by Hamilton). But it's hard not to with the Atelier. When I heard they were doing Van Gogh, I wanted to book a flight to Paris! I can think of no other artist whose work has the same motion and energy -- just as flat canvas -- than Van Gogh and to see it projected with the movement/animation (how do they DO that!) just would blow me away. Your photos are fabulous, too. Every one.

    If you're interested in seeing my Klimt post, at the menu bar on Marmelade Gypsy there's a tab for Paris/England 2018 and it's in the Paris posts. I loved this!

    1. Jeanie, I can feel your excitement in this comment! I'm going to look at your Klimt post right now.
      How odd that you couldn't do a direct reply.

  3. I want to see this so badly. I hope it is permanent and that I have a reason to come to Paris sometime to see it.

  4. I've never heard of this kind of immersive experience but now that I have, I will dive at the opportunity.

    I'm most intrigued by the combination of music with the image. Of course we are accustomed to it with movies, but with the static art? Truly intriguing. When you described "finally we hear heavy rain getting louder as a stormy sky emerges overhead. Wheat rustles in the breeze and the golden hues of Wheat Field with Crows brighten up the floor", I could imagine it vividly.

    What a cool experience!

  5. Wow this looks like an amazing experience! I could fully picture it based on your descriptions and photos, I can only imagine being there in person. I would love to see it!


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