For much of history, the art experience was a static one where one might look at paintings and sculptures in art galleries, museums, stately homes etc. More often than not, you are expected to look on quietly and reverentially. Indeed many art galleries, such as the Tate in London, often feel like a temple of worship. And that’s not to say that is a bad thing. Indeed, we have spent many hours blissfully sitting and staring at paintings in art galleries. Enjoying the peace and quiet contemplation. However, in recent times, there has been a surge in demand for an immersive art experience.
What is an Immersive Art Experience?
The immersive art experience is different from the traditional sense in that it’s more interactive. Museums and galleries and other large exhibition spaces are creating innovative ways to enhance the art experience and help the viewer feel “closer” to the art. They are usually installations often involving constructed environments and multi-sensory experiences. You feel as though you are ‘enveloped’ inside the art and the senses are heightened. In this way, art becomes something you can touch, hear, feel or smell. For example, through the use of headphones or VR headsets. Physical interaction with the art may be different e.g. lounging on a sofa.
Although the advent of digital technology has driven the rise of the immersive art experience, it is not that new. Artists have explored numerous forms of immersion since the development of installation art in the 1960s. For instance, Marcel Broodthaers is regarded as the father of installation art. His work was regarded as highly innovative during the transformative decades of the 1960s and 1970s.
Amazing Immersive Art Experiences Today
There are many spectacular immersive installation art experiences taking place across the globe. As we can’t possibly list them all, below are a few that tickle our fancy and which we would love to visit.
Tate Modern, London, UK – Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms
Yayoi Kusama is an incredibly famous artist hailing from Japan. She is instantly recognisable and often referred to as the “Queen of Polka Dots’. Yayoi became recognised for her interests in optics and interactive elements, using mirrors, electric lights, sound and kinetics. Her latest and largest, installation to date is taking over the Tate Modern. Her Infinity Mirror Rooms – Filled with the Brilliance of Life and Chandelier of Grief – will allow one to immerse themselves in boundless illusions.
Kusama has become world-famous for her provocative happenings and exhibitions. A great example of this is her Love is Calling immersive art exhibition in 2013 – pictured below.
Alice: Curiouser & Curiouser at the V&A museum, London UK
The V&A museum is hosting an immersive and theatrical show that will allow viewers to explore the origins, adaptations and reinventions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. As part of the exhibition, you can ‘ tumble down the rabbit hole’ and experience a mind-bending virtual trip into Wonderland through virtual reality (VR). This augmented world features original artworks by Icelandic illustrator Kristjana S Williams, We can’t wait to take part in this fully immersive, interactive re-imagining of Wonderland!
Teamlab and the Borderless World
TeamLab is a collaborative group that brings together professionals from various fields of practice, bringing together art, technology, design and the natural world. Hailing from Japan, their installations are rooted in traditional ancient Japanese Art and modern forms of anime. They provide insight into the future of art, and their installations are scaled up to larger-than-life proportions.
The viewer enters a kaleidoscopic world filled with a multi-sensory expanse of colour and light. People are invited to wander through this artwork that forms one continuous, borderless world. The audience is invited to explore with intention, creating and discovering a new world with others.
There are a number of these immersive art experiences on display across Japan and in many major cities around the world.
Atelier des Lumières, Paris, France
The Atelier des Lumières is an all-digital art museum and cultural space which opened its doors in Paris in 2018. This immersive experience is kind of similar to the Teamlab experience in that it is a digital world. But these focus specifically on the work of the great impressionist artists of our time. The artworks of these famous artists are re-imagined in large-scale, full-colour digital installations. Each brushstroke and vibrant hue coming together to form a moving multisensory landscape. The viewer enters this world to observe the changing vista on the walls surrounding them accompanied by music.
Past exhibitions have featured the works of Klimt, Monet, Van Gogh etc. The current exhibition is based on the work of Salvador Dali and will be set to the music of Pink Floyd and will run until January 2022
A Final Word….
Immersive art experiences are mostly surreal and, from our experiences to date, definitely a lot of fun! As technology improves, more and more innovative ways to experience art are likely to be created and we, the Boha team, cannot wait to see what the future holds!