The area around Les Baux-de-Provence has many quarries. One of them, the ‘Carrières de Lumières’, has been brought to life by an amazing multimedia show. The theme of this immersive exhibition is always dedicated to a famous name in the history of art and changes yearly. This year the impressive performance combines Paul Cézanne and Wassily Kandinsky. A definite must-see if you ask me!
A dear friend of mine spent her holidays in the Vaucluse and invited me to go and see this light show in a former quarry, called ‘carrière’ in French. As I don’t know this area very well, I was very curious to go, especially after she showed me pictures of last year’s show starring Dalí. My friend suggested I buy my ticket in advance, picking the date and hour, and lucky I did. This way, I could skip the queue and go straight into this utterly fantastic exhibition.
Pierre du Midi
About 20 million years ago, the typical limestone in Les Baux-de-Provence was formed in “Les Alpilles”: a range of small mountains surrounding this ‘most beautiful village of France’. Known as “Pierre du Midi”, many quarries were created to fulfil the demand for the stone, like the quarry of the Grands Fonds. Due to a lack of orders, this quarry closed in 1935. However, its magical interior has since served as a background for many art projects. And in 2012, the village of Les Baux-de-Provence officially changed the quarry into a cultural space. This was the birth of Les Carrières de Lumières. Since then, the quarry’s multimedia shows have been produced by Culturespaces and directed by Gianfranco Iannuzzi, Renato Gatto and Massimiliano Siccardi.
The former carrière des Grands Fonds is the perfect place to display art in a different way. Of course, there is the quarry itself. With its immense space and 14-metre-high walls, the interior kind of looks like a stone cathedral. Then, when you add light and music, you get a true spectacle that brings art to life. Since its launch in 2012, the theme changes every year. Masterpieces by great artists are projected on the floor and walls, from Van Gogh to Chagall and from Bosch to Picasso.
In 2021, there are two shows; I arrived in the middle of the Cézanne one. After Cézanne, there was a little break, and then soon enough the colourful Kandinsky show started. Les Carrières de Lumières works with top-notch, high-performance technology to create these extraordinary audio-visual shows. The artists use no less than 70 video projectors to immerse the audience in a completely different world. The brilliance of the moving decor dizzied me. Giant images of the artists’ paintings floated under me, next to me and above me, all accompanied by great music. For a moment, I found myself walking through the history of art, and I absolutely loved it!