Question: Why in the world would anyone head inside an underground quarry on a sunny November day in Provence?
Answer: For the Picasso sound and light show inside Carrières de Lumières.
The “digital art center” in Les Baux has been a hit with tourists since its first immersive art show in 2012. The 2018 season focused on the works of Picasso, with previous shows featuring Klimt, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Renoir, Chagall, Brueghel, and others. The artists’ works are projected and often animated on the walls of the quarry and accompanied by music.
The concept has become so popular that a similar center called Atelier des Lumières was opened up in a former foundry space in Paris in April, 2018 where it has also drawn large crowds. Remember Corey Frye from our tour of the Marais? Corey did a video inside this show that you can watch on YouTube and, since it’s a 360 video, you can turn and look in any direction as he walks along.
The quarry is surprisingly spacious. This is a part of the quarry outside the display space, where the height of the people (the grownups, not the baby!) in comparison helps give you an idea of its scale:
This is a short video with portions of a Picasso painting animated and with musical accompaniment:
Here are samples of some of the projected images from the Picasso portion of the show. The less colorful images are from Picasso’s famous Guernica painting. (Click on the individual pictures below to enlarge them.)
These pictures show what it’s like in the display area of the quarry between shows:
The Picasso show alternated with a show of ’60’s style “trippy” or “psychedelic” images with a sound track of the same era. Another video:
Here are a couple pictures from the second show:
Visiting Glanum, Saint Paul de Mausole, and Carrières de Lumières made for a long day. As the sun began to set, we drove back over the winding, hilly route through the Alpilles to Saint Rémy — without encountering any Yellow Vest blockades. We would not be so lucky the next day…