World War II Submarine Base in France Transformed Into World’s Largest Digital Art Center

Immersive Light Exhibition in France

Simulation of “Klimt: gold and colour” (Photo: Culturespaces – Nuit de Chine ; © akg-images ; © akg-images / Erich Lessing ; © Heritage Images / Fine Art Images / akg-images)

In France, a submarine base built during World War II is taking on new life as a contemporary arts center thanks to Culturespaces. Located in Bordeaux, the enormous bunker was used for several years during the war to house a shared German and Italian submarine fleet. Now, it will be renamed Bassins de Lumières and take its place as the world's largest digital art center.

The monumental space, which stretches over 13,000 square meters (about 139,930 square feet), will be filled with immersive digital exhibitions dedicated to the great masters of art history, as well as contemporary art. Culturespaces is an expert in this type of transformation after having installed Atelier des Lumières in a former iron foundry in Paris. However, this time, the work was much more intense, with the entire submarine base needing an overhaul in preparation for its new function.

When Bassins de Lumières opens to the public in April 2020, visitors will have the opportunity to view different exhibitions across several basins. The main installations take place around four large basins partially filled with water. Visitors will follow raised walkways to take in the immersive experiences, which will reflect along the placid waters. One long-term exhibition will trace the work of an important artist in the history of art, while a short-term exhibition will be devoted to more contemporary work.

For the inaugural long-term exhibition, Culturespaces selected painter Gustav Klimt as their focus. This master of the Vienna Secession will be explored through a look at the colors, landscapes, and portraits that define his work. Filled with glittering gold, the immersive experience will allow visitors to get an up-close look at Klimt's masterpieces, such as The KissMeanwhile, lovers of modern art will be thrilled to learn that Paul Klee is the subject of the first short-term exhibition. Klee's strong relationship with visual art and music form the basis of the experience.

In addition, Bassins de Lumières will feature a space called Le Cube, which is dedicated to contemporary digital art. Digital creation studio Ouchhh is opening the space with Ocean Data, an installation that uses AI to create unique imagery. “Ocean Data is composed of millions of data captured in the sea in order to create a unique digital work in which forms, light, and movement are generated through an algorithm,” writes Culturespaces. “Visitors will be taken into the heart of the ocean and embark on a journey through different materials, colors, and reliefs. The work combines art, science, and technology to create a contemplative experience.”

Bassins de Lumières is set to open on April 17, 2020. The digital art center will be open daily, except during exhibition setup.

Bassins de Lumières will be the world's largest digital art center when it opens in April 2020.

Bassins de Lumieres - Klimt Rendering

Simulation of “Klimt: gold and colour” (Photo: Culturespaces – Nuit de Chine ; © De Agostini Picture Library / E. Lessing / Bridgeman Images ; © akg-images / Erich Lessing)

Housed in a former World War II submarine base in France, the inaugural exhibit honors Gustav Klimt.

Gustav Klimt Exhibition at Bassins de Lumieres

Simulation of “Klimt: gold and colour” (Photo: Culturespaces – Nuit de Chine ; © akg-images / Erich Lessing ; © akg-images)

Gustav Klimt Exhibition at Bassins de Lumieres

Simulation of “Klimt: gold and colour” (Photo: Culturespaces – Nuit de Chine ; © akg-images / Erich Lessing ; © akg-images ; © Bridgeman Images)

The center also includes a space dedicated to contemporary digital art experiences.

Contemporary Digital Art at Bassins de Lumieres

Simulation “Ocean Data” by Ouchhh (Photo: Ouchhh courtesy of Culturespaces)

Bassins de Lumières: Website | FacebookInstagram 

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Culturespaces.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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