Cultural Cocktail Hour

Review: Gustav Klimt at l’Atelier des Lumières- PARIS- a MUST SEE

Gustav Klimt at L’ Atelier des Lumières –

A MUST SEE in Paris

a dazzling immersion of lights

in the City of Lights


Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography and text © 2018 Leticia Marie Sanchez

This month’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes 2 Oz of Gustav Klimt, A Dash of Beethoven, A Sprinkle of Wagner, and a Splash of Visual Splendor Enjoy!

The perfect Cultural Cocktail involves a blend of music and visual arts and the Gustav Klimt exhibit at Atelier des Lumières is a mesmerizing, intoxicating blend of artistic immersion, NOT to be missed.

Atelier des Lumières means “Studio Of Lights.” The site itself is unorthodox and compelling. The once dark, drab, former iron factory transforms into a feast for the senses, producing an artistic high. 140 laser video projectors illuminate the 16,000 square foot exhibit hall of the former iron factory with golden, gilded images as classical music soars through the space.

To call it an exhibition is an understatement: the event is pure high-octane spectacle. My 3-year-old son, sitting next to me, asked, “Mom, is this an opera?”

The themes of the exhibit include Neoclassical Vienna, Klimt and the Vienna Secession, Klimt’s Use of Gold, Klimt’s Vision of Nature, Egon Schiele, and Klimt’s Images of Women. During the show, the space is filled with the music of Beethoven, Strauss, Chopin, Wagner, Mahler, Puccini, and Philip Glass.

It is apt that the music of Beethoven plays a key role in this exhibit, specifically Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Gustav Klimt created the Beethoven Frieze for the Fourteenth Exhibition of the Viennese Secession in 1902. Klimt’s Frieze was a paean to Beethoven’s Ninth, the Ode to Joy. Hearing the Ode to Joy while seeing the image of the Beethoven Frieze was a viscerally impactful experience, a multi-dimensional illustration of artistic inspiration.

Perhaps the iron factory can be understood as a metaphor for the human mind, the tabula rasa, the blank slate capable of being filled with wonder, and able to process a myriad of sensory experiences. Immensely ironic and a pleasant surprise was that despite the medium of high-tech digital media, relatively few people were taking selfies. The visitors were deeply absorbed in the immersive artistic experience, and the atmosphere pervading the room was one of hushed awe. A sense of respectfulness, of the sacred, of time standing still embodied the space.

Because of the transcendent nature of this experience is a MUST-SEE for those in Paris. 

TIP: This is a popular show- purchase your tickets ONLINE before the show as it does sell-out (and tickets are sold exclusively online for weekend shows)- After witnessing a tourist without an online ticket turned away, I realize that this is a MUST!

TIP #2:  The crown of Jewel of this exhibit is the Klimt screening: there are 2 short films prior to this exhibit; quite frankly they’re a bit too loud & psychedelic- save your time for the Klimt feature ONLY

Running until November 8

The exhibit was created by Gianfranco Iannuzzi, Renato Gatto, and Massimiliano Siccardi, with the musical collaboration of Luca Longobardi. Its curator was Beatrice Avanzi.

l’Atelier des Lumières

38 rue Saint Maur, 75011

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