Running as part of the 2020 vOilah! France Singapore Festival, the Fantasium Group capitalised on their expertise in Virtual Reality (VR) to curate and present an art experience like no other with A Virtual Voyage Through Masterpieces. The experience featured VR films based on masterpieces by Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Paul Gaugin and Adrianrnold Böcklin, presented at Gardens by the Bay.
The family-friendly programme included three components: a VR art exhibition, creative workshops, and online chats with renowned French film directors and producers. Within the exhibition was an exploration of four dreamlike VR animation films, namely – A bar at Folies Bergere (inspired by Edouard Manet), The Water Lillies Obsession (inspired by Claude Monet), Gauguin’s Inner Journey (inspired by Pau Gauguin) and Isle of the dead (inspired by Arnold Böcklin). Together, the virtual show aimed to provide a new perspective of art for guests to rediscover these painters and their masterpieces.
The second part of the programme comprised creative workshops, aimed at younger participants, to learn to express ideas using new technology. Take for example Monet’s Workshop, where participants learn to paint with virtual brushes like an Impressionist painter, and design their own water lily gardens. In Gauguin’s Workshop, participants learnt to dab like Gauguin, focusing on the French artist’s love for intense colour.
Finally, the online chats gave participants aged 16 and above an opportunity to be in exclusive virtual meet-ups with the VR filmmakers over Zoom. Hosted by Deborha Daniele, a senior lecturer at the School of Interactive and Digital Media at Nanyang Polytechnic, participants interacted with Nicolas Thepot, Benjamin Nuel and Igal Kohen to gain insights into their professional journey and immersive filmmaking process.
What was nice about the films was how it felt like a new way of experiencing art, and almost like we were being taken on a VR curated tour of the works, regaled with stories of the history and process of creating these paintings, especially useful for the younger generation to gain a new appreciation and understanding of these works. Certainly, it’s a project and initiative that’s likely to bring curious new audience members to the museums, and keep them engaged, changing their perspective of art and the way we look at it, uncovering the details and able to tease out all the hidden stories.
Says Nina Boldyreva, programme curator and co-founder of Fantasium Group: “This is a landmark collaboration between Asian and Western, classical and contemporary, real and virtual worlds, and multidimensional visions. It is a great honour to be invited for the second time b y the French Embassy to demonstrate how immersive technologies can provide a unique experience. Think about it for a moment: for centuries we have experienced art remotely playing out scenes from a book, or looking at paintings on museum walls, or watching movies on a screen. Although we appreciate them, we do not actually experience them. Now, with VR immersion, we are able to become the art, to become a part of creation, yet remember a story with your entire body, not just with your mind.”
A Virtual Voyage Through Masterpieces ran from 24th October to 8th November 2020. More information available here