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A Lasting Impression at Claude Monet's Immersive Exhibition

Immerse yourself in Claude Monet’s rich European paysages at an upcoming travelling exhibition making its Asia debut in Hong Kong.

By Ashlyn Chak
September 30, 2022

You don’t have to be an art history major to know the name Monet. Hailed as the founder and master of the Impressionist movement, Claude Monet’s world-renowned, larger-than-life masterpieces adorn the walls in the likes of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery in London and, of course, Paris’s Musée dOrsay. 

But its as the artist himself once said: Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” While people around the world know the name Claude Monet, not many grasp the full extent and many nuances of the artists unconventional legacy. 

Photo: En Voyage with Claude Monet

Born in 1840, Oscar-Claude Monet grew up in Le Havre (‘the harbour’) of France’s Normandy region, where he became acquainted with nature and her rapidly shifting moods. Fellow artist Eugène Boudin introduced the teenaged Monet to the concept of en plein air (‘in the open air’, outdoors) painting techniques, and in the early 1860s in Paris, Monet met his contemporaries: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille. Together they would go into the countryside to paint en plein air. In 1872, Monet created the famous Impression, Sunrise to depict the port of his hometown, leading with the feelings that flowed over him as he stood in front of the mesmerising landscape. 

The group’s imaginative way of interpreting reality – using short ‘broken’ brushstrokes to achieve the effect of intense colour vibrations – was considered radical at the time, as it violated the rules of academic painting that focused on finished details and smoothly blended and shaded colours. Over and over again, the conventional Parisian art community hostilely rejected this raw and informal style and mocked the group to great extent. Yet, Monet persisted in his quest for an art of spontaneity. Gradually, the public came to appreciate his original vision, and his loose, light, and unconstrained brushstrokes would soon become synonymous with modern life. In 1883 Monet acquired a property at Giverny, north-west of Paris, where he produced his famous Water Lilies series, concentrated on a single subject – his flower garden – as he played with various light and weather conditions, and water reflections. Containing approximately 250 oil paintings, the cycle occupied the final three decades of his life. 

Photo: En Voyage with Claude Monet

And for the first time in Asia, the Impressionist master’s wondrous ways of processing colour and portraying nature will be brought to digital life in a novel and intimate light with the aid of technology. And its just as well that Hong Kong, a city of light and water, will be the location to introduce this iteration of Monet. 

Opening October 27 and running until January 15, 2023 at Cultural Plaza, West Kowloon Cultural District, in a giant specially built hall, En Voyage with Claude Monet is the city’s first-ever immersive experience of the artist’s work, making its Asian debut after touring in the United States and Europe. Over 300 paintings and sketches will be reassembled in high definition, and the project includes a high-quality 360-degree video mapping and a sound experience that allow the viewer to encounter Monets legacy in its full, reimagined glory. 

Photo: En Voyage with Claude Monet

Presented by the world-renowned Belgian creative studio Dirty Monitor and local tech event organiser ChillHoYeah, the exhibit takes place within a massive, specially built immersive hall, in which some 200 of the artists stunning paintings and sketches will come alive in remarkable variations of shades, sounds and colours through a magnificent 36-minute, 360-degree digital art show. 

Julien-Loïc Garin, the exhibition’s director of arts and culture, says, “[The show] presents over 200 artworks from Monet in one single continuous journey, allowing us to discover the evolution in both the technique, the topics and the vision of the master. [This is] an achievement that is almost impossible in a regular exhibition.” 

“Art is something that stimulates the imagination, brings calmness and serenity, and offers inspiration to the audience,” adds Charles Wong of ChillHoYeah and curator and director of the exhibition. “The audience becomes a part of Monet’s travels and shares in his quest for colours, light and water reflections.” 

Photo: En Voyage with Claude Monet

Utilising the latest virtual reality technology accompanied by an original soundtrack recorded in a 360-degree spatialised environment, the 10-minute voyage takes us from the artists atelier in Giverny to London, the Netherlands, Norway, and other cities and countries, transporting us to the environments that inspired the father, leader, and dedicated advocate of the Impressionist style that we have come to adore. From destination to destination, the universe of Claude Monet is realised in a uniquely accessible and emotionally profound way. 

“It’s a new way to view art, like the restoration of an old movie,” expresses Eleanor Chan, co-organiser and art consultant for the event. “The idea is by no means to replace the real paintings, but to propose people a complementary way to enjoy Monet’s works and enter his life throughout his travels.” 

Claude Monets legacy is an immensely original one. With an ardent love for nature and its many different facets, the Impressionist master invented a style that is both poetic and poignant while tirelessly persisting through hardship and criticism. In todays world, when art and technology intersect and complement each other in never-before-seen ways, En Voyage with Claude Monet is an opportunity for us to embark on a rich, colourful, and sublime journey exploring the artists one-of-a-kind vision, one that has impacted generations of artists that followed. As we experience this fresh and reimagined narrative, we share in Claude Monets quest for vibrancy and sensation. 

Find out more and purchase your tickets here

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