How to look at art today? At a time when most of the visual stimulation we receive goes through a screen, this was a question one couldn’t help asking while walking through the doors of Atelier des Lumières this week. The first Paris-based digital art center opened its doors, not without enthusiasm, in a former foundry of the 11th district. As one enters the 3,300m2 space with ten-metre-high ceilings, a giant projection representing a moving gear encompasses the visitor. Heads rise, eyes travel from floor to ceiling. This is “a place of intelligence, knowledge and culture”, in the words of Bruno Julliard, First Deputy Mayor of Paris, who opened the Atelier with a speech alongside Bruno Monnier, President of Culturespaces and Director of Atelier des Lumières Michael Couzigou, as well as François Vauglin, Mayor of the 11th arrondissement. After the words, make way for the image. Begins an immersive journey into art history, from Botticelli’s masterpieces to Van Gogh’s self-portraits projected on a large scale over the entire surface of the Atelier. The heart of the event is undoubtedly the Gustav Klimt exhibition. For this long programme, the works of the Austrian master dialogue with each other, untie and reconstitute themselves around different themes and on the compositions of Wagner, Beethoven, and Chopin (a musical atmosphere orchestrated by Luca Longobardi). The exhibition, curated by Béatrice Avanzi (programming director of Culturespaces), also highlights the work of another Austrian, the emblematic Egon Schiele. The short programme follows with an exhibition on the Viennese succession illustrated by Hundertwasser’s work. The third and last part of the evening, a sort of final bouquet, deploys an installation entirely created by an artificial intelligence software. Enough to bring art as we know it into the digital age – and to redefine its rules.

Photos: Jean Picon
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