Inside a Van Gogh painting

You can walk into alive Vincent Van Gogh paintings in Dubai. Infinity Des Lumières provides such a new, immersive experience at the Dubai Mall. Is this immersive experience going to be the future of art? Experts are wondering why living Vincent Van Gogh paintings are increasingly gaining ground. Currently, there are at least two ongoing exhibitions in New York similar to that on show in Dubai. Purists turn up their nose, but the main point is: will these initiatives strengthen art? The general public cling to these out of any classic standard exhibits because in the selfie society any chance to share the most spectacular moment on social media is not to be missed. 

The experience at Infinity Des Lumières, the largest digital art center in the Middle East, is not without such indulgence, not surprisingly suggesting every once and again photogenic spots for best ever selfies. You can even find a room full of mirrors with the ubiquitous spot where to take the perfect selfie. These exhibitions seem to bring closer to art people who would not otherwise be even driven by the desire to enter a museum or a gallery. Music and animations do the rest, making painting accessible and attractive, expanding its imaginative power. If these immersive digital experiences deserve a credit, it’s because they contribute to making art accessible for a general audience, tweaking it to 21st century communication, with technology and innovation increasingly becoming a cultural paradigm.

Digital art galleries like these do not replace museums and original artworks, with their depth and materiality. They represent instead a different consumption of art, all experiential, intended for an audience used to interacting with technology. Being immersed in famous paintings is what people want to experience, a result achieved with high-resolution image animations projected on giant screens. Let’s go and see how digital art galleries work, some of the most evocative images and what are the other exhibitions currently on show at the Infinity Des Lumières digital gallery in Dubai. 

The venue in numbers

Infinity Des Lumières is a 2,700-square-meter exhibit space. Images morph onto a 3,300-square-meter projection surface by 130 projectors. Sounds are diffused by 58 speakers. A record-breaking external facade, 40 meters long and 5 meters high consisting of 379 screens, creates a total projection surface of 200 square meters. 

Art and technology

Thanks to cutting-edge technologies, one can experience, through the involvement of multiple senses, a full immersion in the colours, shapes, paintings and artistic genius of the great Dutch master. Lights, sounds, images and animations come into play at once giving unique emotions. One feels literally submerged in Van Gogh‘s brushstrokes, in the colour spread on the canvas, in landscapes, faces, sunflowers, irises, starry nights, wide spreads of grain, dramatic skies. The artworks come to life, vibrating around the visitor, creating an evocative atmosphere. You will mesmerise with alive Van Gogh’s masterpieces as if they explode, throb, overflow from the limits of the canvas. Time passes unnoticed, while the visitor is enchanted, as if hanging between reality and imagination, even though many people seem so driven to succeed in posting the perfect shot on social media rather than on animations flowing.

And the room spins round and round

Combining masterpieces of modern painting and HD digital animations is what makes this immersive experience so unique. ‘Experience Van Gogh’ brings the Dutch master’s paintings to life enhancing their colours, offering visitors a thoroughly new visual process. Being both inside the artworks and an integral part of this dancing whirlwind of sensations is what visitors experience. Acting in sync pictures in motion, music, colours, and shapes creates endless combinations and perspectives. It’s kind of finding yourself at the exact moment of creation. The images dance around engaging us while taking us into a thoroughly personal and conceptual dimension. One can look at the Dutch master’s iconic artworks from a different angle, getting almost close to the unfathomable moment of art-making. A continuous transformation taking place in an expansive and innovative space where bright flowers, waves furrowed by sailboats, self-portraits of the artist, faces of peasants, stars reflected in the water, wheat fields flown over by flocks of crows, winter rain, hills dotted with houses, dazzling suns and poetic moons chase each other, projected onto the walls and the floor, magnifying themselves also thanks to the reflection effect created by wings and pillars covered with mirrors. It is wonder and amazement, art that comes to life, a plunge into an unexplored dimension where colours and shapes come to life too.

Welcoming masterpieces and subjective perception

Surrounding images leave you breathless, while you have the feeling of being part of the artworks in an engaging space, that embraces you. You see things from a different point of view, it’s an unprecedented visual experience. Art and technology merge, amplifying visitors’ senses and subjective perception, creating kind of spiritual connection with the paintings. Vincent Van Gogh‘s artistic path encompasses us.

Wrapping our senses masterpieces appear in their magnificence before our eyes, including “The potato eaters” (1885), “Sunflowers” (1888), “Seascape at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer” (1888), “Irises” (1889), “Starry night” (1889), “Vincent’s room in Arles” (1889), “The Church at Auvers-sur-Oise” (1890), “Almond blossom” (1890) and many more. It’s a Culturespaces production, French company specialised in museums and art centres general management and pioneer of digital art, directed and created by Gianfranco Iannuzzi, Renato Gatto and Massimiliano Siccardi.

Sound atmospheres by Luca Longobardi. Enchanting classical music including Jean-Baptiste Lully, Giacomo Puccini, Antonio Vivaldi, Johannes Brahms, up to Mozart rewritten by Luca Longobardi, who also composed various musical scores in the exhibition. The soundtrack ranges from different genres and is also enriched with contemporary nuances, with songs that have written important pages in the history of pop and jazz, from Janis Joplin to Miles Davis and Nina Simone.

Hokusai’s floating Japan

As in a cinema in the main hall of the Infinity Des Lumières gallery, at the Dubai Mall, the show about Van Gogh alternates with the one about Hokusai’s artworks, a great master of the Edo period, active between the end of the second half of 1700 and 1849. Ukiyo-e painter and printmaker, among the most representative of Japanese art, he is best known for the iconic Great Wave, such an extraordinary masterpiece that has become part of the emojis available in our smartphones.

An artist who has influenced and fascinated many Western painters such as Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas. “Dreamed Japan”, this is the title of the digital exhibition on Japan, brings to life the worlds evoked by Hokusai, from his iconic waves to life submerged in the seabed, from flowers to life scenes, from the tea ceremony to Geishas and Samurai, up to the characteristic paper lanterns that hover in the sky lighting it up with a thousand charming lights.

Verse, visit infinite universes

Verse is a sensory adventure created by the artist Thomas Vanz. In a separate room, in a more cosy and intimate atmosphere, you can embark on a metaphysical journey into the beauty of the cosmos. At times one gets the impression of being on board a spaceship, discovering the universe, between distant galaxies and unknown worlds. At times one has the sensation of penetrating the mysteries of creation, being plummeted into the infinitely small, from falling drops to subatomic particles, accompanied by orchestral music composed by Jonathan Fitas.

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