Impression, Immersive Gardens

Since last week, when we started to go out again, I had the impression of rediscovering the city again. It’s the season for the wild rose, the yellow jasmine, or the Spanish broom to blossom, and they turned all the parks and side alleys into wonderland, making me feel like walking into one of Monet’s floral scapes.

I got to see this exhibition right before the lockdown, at Ideal, a centre for digital arts in Poblenou. The central space of this large black box space is flooded with large-format projections, running on walls and floor, and zooming into Claude Monet’s particular pictorial technique. The experience, a tribute to the painter who changed the history of art by capturing the beauty of the ephemeral, lasts about 30 minutes.

The virtual reality zone is where a brief timeline of the artist unfolds, from his childhood in Le Havre, youth in Paris, stays in London, Zaandam’s Dutch refuge, family life in Argenteuil, until his last stage at Giverny. It’s designed as a kind of a flying voyage, seen through virtual reality glasses, from one painting to another.

The experience includes the work Impression, rising sun, from which the Impressionist movement took its name. Ideal centre d’arts digitals is in the former Ideal cinema, dating back to 1917, a place for movie projections but also for cultural, social and political events.

Claude Monet (Paris, 1840 – Giverny, 1926) was a pioneer in the use of free brushstroke. Leading an entire generation of artists, he focused on observing and representing reality in a revolutionary way. After the appearance of photography, the challenge for artists like Monet was to paint the changing reality, the fleeting moments, understanding the art of painting as a spontaneous act.

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