For Klimt enthusiasts travelling to or based in Florence who don’t already know, the Tuscan capital is currently home to an impressive art show devoted to the viennese painter, one of the most prominent artists linked to the Vienna Secession movement.
Hosted in the deconsecrated Church of Santo Stefano al Ponte, Klimt Experience – as the title suggests – is not an ordinary art exhibition. After a series of panels that introduce the painter and the historical and socio-cultural context in which he worked between the 19th and the 20th century, visitors are immediately and almost literally invited to immerse themselves into Klimt’s world.
The first part of the show takes visitors through a journey to discover some among Klimt’s most famous artworks thanks to a particular multimedia device. Taking turns, people grab a seat and put on a pair of Oculus Samsung Gear VR goggles. These glasses virtually teleport to a room on whose walls hang eight Klimt masterpieces – half of these are associated to symbols that act as ‘keys’. Each key unlocks a door which leads visitors to four different but equally magical universes. People can expect to ‘enter’ the likes of The Kiss or The Tree of Life and feel as if they actually were in the paintings, surrounded by golden doodles, walking on a carpet of flowers or paddling in a small wooden boat on a tranquil lake. It’s a truly emotional voyage which awakens all senses, an interactive event which however doesn’t stop there.
Part two of the show sees visitors walking into the church-turned-museum where another kind of experience awaits. Having to climb a few steps means people don’t realise straight away what they will find once inside. The surprise upon reaching the hall is such it almost feels like unwrapping a present. Here art meets technology as a selection of more than 700 images between Klimt’s finest works, photographs of the artist and and 3D recreations of Vienna in the early 1900s are projected onto huge screens. The closer visitors get, the more they will feel as if they were embraced by those digital pictures, once again allowing for an full-on experience. The outstanding quality of the video, the eye for detail and the music chosen as the soundtrack and accurately matched to each image make for an unmissable event. Watching Hygieia enveloped by flames or the snakes coming to life and floating around the woman in Nuda Veritas while listening to opera compositions by classical music giants like Verdi or Vivaldi is a real treat, a feast for both the eyes and the ears.
Overall, this event is an opportunity to look at Klimt’s work from a different perspective and while traditional exhibtion-goers may raise their eyebrows at first, they will be glad they gave Klimt Experience a chance later.
Due to the overwhelming success with both the public and the critics, the exhibition closing date has been extended to May 1. Booking ahead is highly recommended to avoid long queues. Click here to find out more.