Claude Monet is my absolute favourite. I’ve visited his house, flower and water garden in Giverny – for the second time already in recent weeks – and I’ve almost never missed an opportunity of visiting a gallery or a museum holding his works. Both at the Metropolitan in New York and Hermitage in St. Petersburg, I only ran to the rooms where his paintings were displayed, as I was too busy to see the entire collections.
Therefore, I naturally made a note to visit the „Monet2Klimt“ exhibition even though I had no idea what a virtual exhibition may look like. But it exceeded all my expectations – screens several metres tall had been erected in an oval shape around the hall of the old cinema Helios with numerous projectors directed at the screens as well as half the floor. There were three rows of benches in the middle of the hall and the exhibition literally sprang to life around the visitors. We were not only in a virtual exhibition hall, the best-loved works by both painters were animated around us – the whole programme lasted 45 minutes, so a story around 22-23 minutes long had been composed of the works of both artists. The paintings not only moved, but the authors of the exhibition created them around us, moved details, took us flying and diving under water. We were surrounded by a sea of blossoms, falling leaves, glittering waves, night sky – these are the elements I remember most vividly. The soundtrack consisted of some of the most famous pieces of classical music.
As I went to the exhibition for Monet primarily, I will describe the virtual versions of a couple of his works in more detail. Water-lilies, naturally! At first, the water-lilies were drawn on the canvases as if under the artist’s brush, then the surface of the water appeared, and then drops started falling on it, creating ripples. I could hear the burble of water. Given that the actual water garden of Monet’s is almost always crowded and it is difficult to find a place for quiet meditation, these moments in the hall of Helios were quite an experience. The part of the programme featuring Monet’s works ended with his most famous painting – „Impression. Sunrise“. The piece started from pitch black, then the cranes and masts of the harbour of Le Havre appeared, followed by boats on the water, and eventually, Monet’s bright orange sun rose from behind the horizon.
The exhibition, which was due to last until June 9, has just been extended until August 31, so I definitely recommend all art lovers to go. The full ticket costs 10,50 euros, but you can stay in the exhibition hall as long as you like – the visit is not limited to one 45-minute cycle, guests can enter and exit through the “secret” doors cut in the screens at any time.