Anyone who has ever visited the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican has mixed memories of it. How to enjoy Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the middle of the crowd, head raised, neck twisted, smartphone at arm’s length, with the guards shouting “silenzio!” » every half minute?
From the top of its 18 meters and its five centuries, the immortal fresco contemplates us, untouchable, leaving the same frustration as in front of the armored windows of the Mona Lisa. It is with this frustrating experience in mind that Fever, an American company specializing in immersive experiences, has designed an exhibition to show the Sistine Chapel in close-up.
Amazing full-size detail
From this Wednesday, and until August 21 at the Palais de la Bourse, in the 2nd arrondissement of Lyon, the general public will be able to contemplate around thirty frescoes almost identical to the originals. “We wanted to make a life-size exhibition”, explains Alice Wurtz, project manager at Fever, and responsible for this exhibition in Lyon. “For this, we used the SEG technique, Silicon Edge Graphics, which reproduces the works of Michelangelo in high definition, on a fabric canvas. We can thus render the touch of the painter, but also the natural light of the original. »
The visitor follows a journey that begins with episodes of Genesis, hung high, but close enough to reveal the vivid colors and cracks. If the most famous scenes are obviously represented, such as the creation of Adam or the Last Judgment, the exhibition allows you to detect astonishing details. The powerful musculature of the female characters, the ancestors of Christ represented as children, and scenes of pure horror that seem to have come out of… Stranger Things.
An anachronistic and superfluous background music
Concise explanations give details to each canvas, with a QR code to scan on your smartphone to obtain an audio guide. “That’s also the big difference we wanted to make here,” adds Alice Wurtz. All the episodes are explained, we give the context, what they represent, why Michelangelo chose them… We thus obtain an even stronger immersion, as if as if you were projected towards the vault with the artist. »
If the musical background, anachronistic, seems superfluous, the exhibition succeeds in its bet of intelligent democratization of art. The first visitors include as many tourists as locals, who also discover the Palace in a different way. “This exhibition is touring the world, it has already been presented in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and for its premiere in France, we are particularly happy to be in Lyon”, specifies Alice Wurtz. “The Palais de la Bourse represented a real technical challenge: it’s a magnificent place, but it’s also fragile. We have worked hard to hang the frescoes there so that they are highlighted, while enhancing the place,” she concludes.