Grande Experiences who brought us Van Gogh Alive now presents Monet in Paris – The French Impressionists Alive brings iconic impressionist works to Australian audiences in Brisbane. We chat to Grande Experiences founder and CEO, Bruce Peterson.
Hi Bruce, we spoke about 2 years ago before Van Gogh Alive came to Adelaide for the inaugural Illuminate Adelaide festival. You’re currently showing a new immersive experience in Brisbane, which is related to the works of the French impressionists called Monet in Paris – The French Impressionists Alive. Can you please tell us about this experience?
Monet in Paris is a multi-sensory experience focused on the works of the renowned French painter, Claude Monet and accompanied by some of the world’s most fearless artists of their time including Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and many more. This rich, dynamic display of light, colour, sound and fragrance brings the masterpieces of these impressionists to life and is presented under the Grande Pavilion, a massive 2600sqm mini Paris.
The experience features more than 800 individual artworks, with the centrepiece of the experience an immersive, entire-gallery takeover of Monet’s renowned painting, ‘Woman with a Parasol’. It also includes a recreation of his bridge over waterlilies, a wonderful infinity garden room with 10,000 flowers and fully themed café and retail areas. Unique, revealing, and inspiring, Monet in Paris journeys through the most influential and fascinating period in modern art with curated aromas and a synchronised soundtrack including Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Offenbach.
Apart from the fact that the works and artist are different, how does Monet in Paris differ from Van Gogh Alive?
Van Gogh and Claude Monet were both influential artists, but they had distinct differences in their artistic styles, approaches and personal lives. Van Gogh Alive is centred around the post-Impressionist artist known for his expressive brushwork and vivid colours while on the other hand, Monet in Paris highlights Claude Monet’s mastery of capturing light and nature.
The experiences themselves are totally different. Van Gogh Alive delves into the life, emotions, and creative process of Vincent van Gogh, and provides insight into his personal struggles and artistic development. Monet in Paris immerses visitors into the beauty of Monet’s and a dozen other French Impressionist paintings and the ambience of Paris to create a serene and dreamlike experience.
Where will Monet in Paris tour to after Brisbane?
Monet in Paris is currently showing in Northshore Brisbane until Sunday 27 August. We are yet to announce the next city but stay tuned – it is touring Australia!
Prior to opening in Brisbane, you wrapped up your other Monet experience, Monet and Friends at The Lume digital art gallery in Melbourne that your company Grande Experiences owns and operates. For those who have visited Monet and Friends, how does Monet in Paris compare? Is it the same experience under a different name?
Monet & Friends at THE LUME Melbourne and Monet in Paris for all intent and purpose is the same experience, presented under different brand names The content is the same and the experience will have an interpretive area, Monet’s Bridge, SENSORY4 Multisensory Gallery, retail, interactive drawing room, sponsor activation and café/bar. Van Gogh Alive and Monet in Paris is toured by our licensee Andrew Kay & Associates.
In Monet in Paris you’re showcasing the following artists and their works: Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. What criteria did you use to choose which works would be included in the experience and which wouldn’t?
We wanted to focus on the most iconic artworks – the art that people travel the world to see and bring it right to their doorstep. The first thing we do is establish a story structure – how we group themes and artists together. From there, we select individual pieces that best illustrate that story, and help tell the broader story of a given artist as an overall experience, as we would with projection as our medium.
We know from experience that bright, colourful images work best, so we seek out those as our preference. We also favour high-quality digital images, over poor-quality reproductions. Our team review each individual image for its suitability, as when it’s projected to the size of a building, the medium can be unforgiving! The end result is a beautifully clear image that in some cases can reveal the tiniest details – allowing our visitors to see more than imagined.
Where are the original works which you digitised for the experience housed?
The images are sourced from individual art museums and institutions from around the world. Most museums that have a piece in their collection, will have undertaken a process of museum-quality digitisation as part of their preservation process. This results in exceptionally high-quality digital files being available. Monet and other leading French impressionists’ work is highly regarded among some of the world’s leading museums.
How do you digitise the works in such fine detail without damaging them?
As above – part of conservation work. The biggest issue for our creative team was finding images that are of high enough resolution to be used in the experience. We can’t just pull the images from Google, we’re projecting them onto towering walls and floors, up to 4 storeys high, so the actual foundation assets have to be very high resolution and appropriately scaled. We are very careful to match to the original artwork as closely as possible and avoid excessive manipulation that could distort the artwork’s appearance.
Just as with Van Gogh Alive, the experience doesn’t just show the works on a large digital scale, it also tells the story of the artists and the art movement within which they worked. What appealed to you about the impressionists?
I think what appealed to me about the French Impressionists was the way they challenged the traditional artistic norms of their time. They sought to capture fleeting moments, the effects of light, and the immediate impressions of their subjects, introducing a fresh and innovative approach to art which is what we at Grande Experiences do. The French Impressionists and their works had a profound impact on the art world. Their willingness to challenge conventions and explore new artistic avenues paved the way for future generations of artists to experiment and push boundaries. This was a turning point in the evolution of art and went on to influence subsequent movements such as post-impressionism, Favism, and even elements of modern and contemporary art.
Why should people attend Monet in Paris – The French Impressionists Alive?
One of the unique things about Monet in Paris’ is that it appeals to both art aficionados who are seeking a deeper understanding of Claude Monet’s artistic legacy, as well as those who might be seeing the French Impressionists’ work for the first time. The way we bring art to life makes it more accessible to a wider audience. Leveraging our creative storytelling techniques, we created an immersive experience that engages the senses and emotions of visitors. Monet in Paris offers a unique and enriching experience, allowing you to connect with the Impressionists’ artistic genius and explore the beauty and innovation of their timeless artworks.
We thank Bruce Peterson for this interview and hope to see Monet in Paris – The French Impressionists Alive when it tours.
KEY INFO FOR MONET IN PARIS – THE FRENCH IMPRESSIONISTS ALIVE
WHAT: Monet in Paris – The French Impressionists Alive
WHERE: Le Grand Palais, Northshore Brisbane, Hamilton
WHEN: until 27 August 2023
- Monday: 10.00am – 7.00pm
- Tuesday: 10.00am – 7.00pm
- Wednesday: 10.00am – 7.00pm
- Thursday: 10.00am – 7.00pm
- Friday: 10.00am – 8.30pm
- Saturday: 9.00am – 8.30pm
- Sunday: 9.00am – 6.00pm
NOTE: Last session times are scheduled one (1) hour prior to closing time.
HOW: Purchase your tickets (timed and dated or undated) via the official ticket vendor, Ticketek
HOW MUCH: Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adult $54.00
- Concession $49.00
- Child 2-15 Years $39.00
For more events with links to France and the Francophonie happening in Australia, check out our What’s on in July article.