Painting with Light illuminates interactive art experience 

Following a first successful edition with 60.000 visitors, The Art Hour re-opened this year in the former Holy Ghost Chapel in the historical heart of Mechelen (Belgium). This innovative expo with masterworks of Belgian artists is inspired and developed by art collectors and entrepreneurs Hans & Joost Bourlon. With this interactive concept they make art more accessible to a wider audience and anyone who may not visit conventional galleries. 33 paintings from nineteen Belgian artists between 1850 and 1950 are displayed across three spaces for an immersive experience of exactly one hour.

Creative lighting design and media specialist Painting with Light was invited to manage and design the technical systems and control for lighting, video, audio and humidity control for the project.

In the first two rooms, each painting is introduced with a story by each designated personality. They appear as a life-size projected video on the gallery wall right beside the painting, projected by Panasonic devices. The third room, situated in the old chapel itself, is a darker, more intimate club-like space illuminated by Chauvet profile spots. Visitors can hear but don’t see the narrator while experiencing an immersive light show produced to compliment the art. Finally, “The Cockfight in Flanders” by painter Emile Claus from Waregem has various elements illuminated one by one, giving a special dynamic to the masterpiece.

The paintings are mounted on black walls and lit from behind with RGB LED strips, changing colours to generate an ambient light adjusted to each work’s specific colour palette. Painting with Light was responsible for focusing the lights and ensuring precisely accommodating the visitor’s viewing angles so reflections were minimized. The decor in the first two rooms includes custom black textile wall cladding provided by partner Showtex. To improve the overall atmosphere and give viewers a sense of orientation, linear lighting was implemented at the bottom of these walls. The lighting intensity in the entrance hall is adjusted to the time of the day following an external light sensor. In addition, the humidity level is also controlled to make sure that the artworks cannot be damaged.

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