“A circle around your thoughts”: the immersive Klimt exhibition opens in Boston | Arts
A journey awaits you at the Château.
Following the success of the Immersive Van Gogh and Immersive Frida Kahlo exhibitions, multimedia production company Lighthouse Immersive presents Italian artist Massimiliano Siccardi’s next work, ‘Immersive Klimt: Revolution’, at Saunders Castle in Park Plaza.
Richard D. Ouzounian, Lighthouse Immersive’s creative consultant, said, “We don’t always want to give the impression that we’re going for the simple shot over the left field wall. Sometimes you want to do something harder, which is Klimt.
Additionally, Ouzounian wants audiences to know that each Lighthouse Immersive experience is an independent and unique production.
“Don’t think if you’ve seen one of our shows, you’ve seen them all,” he said. “They are very different. I stood up at the opening in Phoenix and said “everyone, this is not Van Gogh 2.0”.
Immersive Klimt concludes Siccardi’s trilogy of immersive exhibitions, which Ouzounian considers a trilogy of groundbreaking artists. Ouzounian does not believe that these exhibitions replace the traditional avenue of the art museum, but rather a new way of appreciating art.
“I think Siccardi is a great jazz artist,” he said. “I admire Miles Davis a lot, and people say ‘Sketches of Spain’ is an insult to Rodrigo’s original, and I said ‘no, it’s not.’ It is Rodrigo’s original piece seen through the eyes of a master trumpet player who can extract more value from it – different value -… Siccardi pays tribute to Klimt’s genius saying “look what he can show else”.
With 500,000 cubic feet of projections and 90 million pixels, the exhibition required a large team of Italian production assistants and technicians.
“It’s like watching a Marvel movie, you know,” Ouzounian said. “All these technicians to make it happen.”
“Visually speaking, this one is my favorite,” added Ouzounian.
Another important aspect of the production is the soundtrack composed by Italian composer Luca Longobardi. Accompanying Siccardi’s visuals, Longobardi’s music offers audiences a unique audiovisual experience. Notably, Longobardi includes the music of the Austrian Expressionist Arnold Schoenberg, whose experimental music reflected Klimt’s involvement in the Viennese Secession movement – a group of Viennese artists who aimed to deviate from traditional European artistic styles.
The show’s finale, which departs from the rest of the production, features stunning visuals, rapidly changing pixels, and what Ouzounian calls “unabashed techno pop.” The EDM light show, accompanied by Longobardi’s original composition titled “MMXXI”, interprets Klimt’s revolutionary expressionism through the prism of contemporary experimentalism.
“Massimiliano and his team were all working on this in the depths of Covid when it hit Italy… there was a kind of death feeling in places, but then rising above death,” said said Ouzounian. “I asked composer Luca Longobardi, ‘why did you go to technopop at the end?’ and he said “because I felt after what we had been through, we needed to dance and party”.
Longobardi’s composition, the Roman numeral for 2021, represents a celebration of Italian resilience and hope during a difficult time. Ouzounian then linked this sentiment to Klimt’s own life.
“Klimt is the guy who said, ‘yes there is death; yes there is darkness; but there is also the tree of life,” Ouzounian said.
The audience, many of whom sat or walked around during the 45-minute production, thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit.
MC H. LaPlante ’25, a Harvard student in the audience, said, “The electro pop exhibit brought his works to life through an innovative and modern approach.
Another student in the audience, John S. Cooke ’25, said, “I thought the show was an incredibly intriguing showcase of all aspects of Klimt’s life and work. Electro pop was certainly a nice addition, but it represents Klimt’s unpredictability even more.
Ouzounian hopes Lighthouse Immersive will open more doors for Bostonians, young and old, to engage in art.
“There are a lot of people who can’t travel to Amsterdam, so why should they be cheated?” he said. “It’s interesting. Murray Whyte, who’s the art critic for the Boston Globe…was ready to laugh, but he stopped laughing because his 10-year-old son came along – who never thought much at his work – and suddenly, when he saw Immersive Van Gogh, he wanted to know more about art.
The exhibition attempts to distill the essence of Klimt with a contemporary twist, returning to his work with renewed creativity. In the words of the artist himself, “there is always hope as long as the canvas is empty”.
Immersive Klimt: Revolution opens April 14, 2022 at Saunders Castle, located at 130 Columbus Avenue. Immersive Frida Kahlo continues to shoot at the Château.
—Writer AJ Veneziano can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @aj_veneziano.