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Here's what to expect at 'Beyond Monet: The Immersive Experience'

Zoe Dym

More than 100,000 people visited the “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” traveling exhibit when it came to Honolulu last year.

After 6 months of preparation from Montreal, Paquin Entertainment Group and Normal Studio bring their second work in the series — "Beyond Monet: The Immersive Experience."

The exhibit flows through different themes found in his paintings, and shows guests how he was more than just an artist who painted scenic landscapes.

Zoe Dym

When walking through the arch of golden frames at the start of the exhibit, it feels like you’re in one of Claude Monet’s paintings.

“Beyond Monet: The Immersive Experience” showcases over 400 paintings by the 19th-century French artist who founded Impressionism — a radical art style at the time.

"It’s Impressionism for a reason. It’s not a copy of everything. It’s an impression of it. It’s very much based on your subjective vision of taking care of being in the here and now,ʻ art historian Fanny Curtat explains.

In-studio, precise painting was praised in the 19th century. Thanks to the invention of paint tubes, artists were able to take their easels outside. In fact, Monet almost exclusively painted outdoors to capture fleeting beauty in nature.

"You as an individual, what do you feel when you’re seeing this? Not in this ideal that you have to strive for that’s impossible, but in what’s already around you," Curtat says.

Monet’s colorful art style is displayed through the use of three rooms.

The first room provides information on his life — and there is no one way to walk through it.

Sculptures of water lilies sit in the middle of the room to represent Monet’s most well-known series of paintings. Visitors learn about Monet's vision loss and love for Japanese woodblock prints.

Guests then walk through a sparkling hallway that leads to a final room — a 37-minute immersive art experience on loop.

Zoe Dym

Original music and sounds composed by Jean-Sébastien Côté flow seamlessly with Monet’s animated paintings projected on the white walls.

Spectators must spin 360 degrees — and even look at the ground — to get a full view of Monet’s reimagined work.

The projected images also feature works from Monet's personal art collection from his home in Giverny. Japanese woodblock prints are displayed on the walls to mimic his home studio.

"For us, it’s obvious that it’s a pretty picture, and we tend to not go further than that. And by doing that, we forget how much he struggled, and how much there is to his work," Curtat tells HPR. "His work is really an ode to the here and now — to capturing the instant, to paying attention to [the] beauty around us. It was not something that was accepted back then. It was something he had to fight for."

"Beyond Monet: The Immersive Experience" is open at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center from June 15 through July 31. It's open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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