Photo Diary: Klimt, The Immersive Experience

Having grown up around some of Klimt’s work displayed in my grandparents house, I’ve long been drawn towards Gustav Klimt as an artist. I love the Art Nouveau movement, especially in architecture and I adore the rich tones of his Golden Phase. There is something so lush and rich that I really enjoy, so when I saw that there was an immersive experience on his work, I was quick to book some tickets. I had already seen that others had visited the immersive experience on Van Gogh’s work which while I enjoy some his works -I even have some vans from their collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum, but I weren’t as compelled to visit that one.

We visited the Klimt experience on Brick lane at the beginning of August, and whilst there took the chance to also look at some shops and visit the street food market too. In particular, I wanted to visit Crosstown and try one of their vegan doughnuts so we popped in there before the experience. The experience is at The Boiler House on Brick Lane and was so easy to find given that I had never been to that area before.

The beginning of the experience showcased a few of Klimt’s pieces accompanied by information about him, his lifestyle and how he came to be such a key figure in European art. With a body of 230 paintings and 4,000 sketches, his unique artistic style is characteristic of symbolism and the art Nouveau movement through the late 19th century in Europe. With such a breadth of work, it ranges from sketches of women to painted landscapes, and so much more.

I really enjoyed learning about his personal life a bit more, especially his work methods. Klimt was a discreet person who tended to shy away from the social scene of his day and worked in solitude; usually creating five or six pieces at a time. While he lived with his mother and sisters for most of his life, he still managed to have multiple affairs and fathers numerous children. Although Klimt never marries, he has a close bond with fashion designer Emilie Flöge and sends her hundreds of letters and postcards throughout his lifetime. This collection of correspondence displays the caring relationship between but also illustrates the fact that it was never of a romantic nature. Klimt passed away in 1918, aged 55.

During the beginning of the experience, the space also showcased some of Klimt’s phases through his artistic career. I particularly liked the sections on the portraits of women; something Klimt was known for as he created a whole host of portraits of the Viennese women of the both the bourgeoisie and the elite classes. I also really enjoyed some of his landscape work although my favourite, as previously mentioned has always been the Golden Phase. I really enjoyed the installations, depicting Klimt’s work in new and creative ways. It added another element to the experience which was really enjoyable.

The main attraction of the experience was of course the immersive part. A 360 degree projected show produces and showcases Klimt’s work in new and innovative way. I read that the show is loosely sectioned into three parts. The first part shows some of his earlier works and some of his architectural sketches. The second part celebrates the great outdoors and Klimt’s love of it, as well as depicting his floral stage. The third and final part is the Golden Phase; my favourite. The whole show was so vibrant and well-produced. I really enjoyed how they didn’t just project the works but rather reimagined certain elements and even animated certain pieces which made it all the more immersive. I also really enjoyed how trippy it was. At times the mixture of instrumental music and vivid colours would almost send me into a relaxed trance. I also really loved that they even projected elements of the sketches onto the floor so you were entirely immersed in the works. I could have sat there for hours!

After this, we moved to the upstairs section that had more of the experience including a colour-in area where we could create our own versions of Klimt’s more popular pieces. You could then project them onto the display wall which was far more enjoyable than I had anticipated. After having a quick browse in the gift shop we headed out towards the shops and explored a bit more.

We both found great books in the Brick Lane Bookshop; mine being a total impulse buy but such a gem of a book –Her Majesty’s Royal Coven (book review to come!). It was a really great day and something I would highly recommend! I don’t even think you have to be an art enthusiast or appreciator to enjoy the immersive experience.

Cheerio for now!

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