If, by any chance, you find yourself in Paris between now and the end of January, add Atelier des Lumierès to your to-do list. What awaits you is an immersive, otherworldly experience of color and lights that will make you feel like you’re a part of a Cézanne or Kandinsky painting.
Following the success of the Van Gogh and Salvador Dali magic, the Atelier in Paris offers yet another one for the bucket list. First, I melted into fascinated goo during the Van Gogh show, paired with Japon Rêvé. Then, about a year later, I treated myself to the moving images of Dali’s and Gaudi’s most exceptional works of art. So, naturally, when a newsletter from L’Atelier des Lumières told me that Cézanne and Kandinsky had arrived, it meant only one thing: I had to go. I knew that I was going to take my time inside, so I picked a rainy day, brought along a good book for the Métro and finally reached the Rue Saint-Maur station. A short walk through the 11th arrondissement and I was there, gleefully waving my online ticket at the entrance, ready to walk into the familiar darkness of the impressive space that houses the immersive exhibits.
While exceptional, Cézanne was never one of my favorites in books or museums. Still, as the familiar and repetitive brushstrokes started gliding down the walls around me, it was impossible to shake off the feeling that there I was, splashed on a canvas, as one of his portraits, or I was somehow inside his mind, viewing nature through his eyes. Self-portraits, inner torment, the tranquility of his studio, his daily life of Aix-en-Provence, all of it was soon dancing before my eyes.
The Atelier gives you a minute to compose yourself, and then it throws you into a ten-minute creation based on Vassily Kandinsky’s works. This show is composed of two parts: his figurative work and the advent of abstraction. First, we have his early work that was influenced by Impressionism, oniric Fauvism, pointilism and Russian folklore. But it is the second part which is the Kandinsky most of the world knows. There we are treated to his experimentation with movement and the rhythm of color. His Composition VIII from 1923 and Yellow-Red-Blue from 1925 are the Crown Jewels of the whole immersive experience. The soundtrack of David Bowie’s Space Oddity is the cherry on top of the catharsis.
While I was reminded of just how great these artists are, it was inevitable for me not to also become aware just how much more can be done with what they gave us–anything is possible. Visitors owe their gratitude to the creative directors Gianfranco Iannuzzi (Cézanne) and Virginie Martin (Kandinsky), who have managed to build new, fascinating experiences using works that have been around for decades.
The exhibit has been extended and is open until January 20th, 2023.
Tickets are available here.
Jana Misho is the author of “Almost Parisian: How To Survive Your Late Twenties in Paris” and “Anais from Montmartre.” She writes things she wants to read and is inspired by art, people and obscure Parisian cafés. Probably the only person in the world who has a tattoo of Tour Montparnasse. Her third novel “Lulu” is coming to Amazon soon.