Monday, August 18, 2014

Postcard from Les Carrières de Lumières


Imagine walking through a painting, being totally submerged so that color is everywhere; around, above and below you. As you walk, the images change and the intensity of the experience is enhanced by beautiful music filling the air.

What may seem like a dream is the most spectacular light and sound show for you to experience just outside of Saint-Rémy along the road leading to the Baux-de-Provence.

This magical place is called "Les Carrières de Lumières" and as the name goes, used to be a former limestone quarry. The quarry ceased its' activity in 1935 and it took the French 'avant-garde' artist (and poet, novelist, designer, playwright, filmmaker...) Jean Cocteau, enchanted by the beauty of the site, to bring it back to life again when he decided to film his movie there; "Le Testament d'Orphée"  in 1960. 

Cocteau's rather surreal film

A multimedia show was first imagined and put together by journalist and photographer Albert Plécy in 1977. When he created a sound and light event around Picasso in 2009, the success was huge ! Over 250'000 visitors experienced this incredible concept, making, what was still called "La Cathédrale d'Images" back then, one of the most prestigious private cultural enterprises in Europe. A huge legal dispute broke out in 2008 (and is still going on...) between the "Cathédrale d'Images" Company; the "Culturespace" which now runs the "Carrières de Lumières" (same venue - different name) and the city of Les Baux-de-Provence. Despite this unfortunate (and fierce) feud, the enchantment and the magic of every new show remain intact.

To give you an idea;
Every show lasts 30 minutes (with a shorter projection of about 5-10 minutes on another theme, as an intermission between shows). The images are projected on walls that are 6-14 metres high, by 100 video projectors. There are about 3000 images projected per show along with selected music (adapted to the theme), coming out of 26 high powered speakers throughout the quarries. And with the ground also becoming a moving carpet of images, there are over 6000 square metres of visual extravaganza to enjoy !

Just to put you in the are some images of previous shows:

Cézanne - in 2006
Venice - in 2007

Van Gogh - in 2008

Picasso - in 2009

Australia - in 2010

Gauguin - in 2012

Monet, Renoir, Chagall - in 2013

 Note: There was no show in 2011 as it was the year the operating company changed...

 Three directors (Renato Gatto, Massimiliano Siccardi and Gianfranco Lannuzzi) put their heads and their talents together this year to create a visual masterpiece around the works of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Gustav Klimt - 1862-1918

Egon Schiele - 1890-1918

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - 1928-2000

With the addition of music by composers such as Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and Richard Wagner they have achieved perfection. 

So, as I promised myself I would deliver a shorter post today with less bla bla bla and more pictures (and failed miserably once again...); here we go. But as you scroll down I invite you to listen to some of the wonderful music  (although not this particular version) that is also part of this year's presentation of "Klimt et Vienne, un Siècle d'Or et de Couleurs"

Translation of the music piece ? "I am lost to the world"... Que c'est triste...!

Carrières de Lumières ...Before the show...

Let the magic begin... 

The short projection theme was called - "Les Villes Invisibles"

Then off to the Vienna of Strauss, Waltzes and Palaces...

Change of times...

Goodbye Sissi - Hello Art Nouveau

Then breathtaking Klimt...

Tree of Life

Schiele...Tortured and fascinating..

And an explosion of color and swirling patterns by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

If you have the chance, do go see this show and if you can't make it this time;  write down the Carrières de Lumières in your agenda for your next visit to Provence. I heard Leonardo da Vinci is planned for 2015... Just saying...

Let yourself be truly transported through emotion and imaginary into this amazing sensorial experience.

Bye for next post will take you, eating and shopping...
when I send you my ...

Postcard from...AIX-EN-PROVENCE

A très vite...

credits:- wikipedia, pinterest,, carrières-de-lumiè,,,, akg-images/erich lessing,

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