The Italian Team
Leaders of the Immersive Revolution
ROME | WORDS BY SHERENE ALMJAWER & MICHAEL ZARATHUS-COOK | LIGHTHOUSE IMMERSIVE - Issue 8
Meet the creative team behind the revolution in immersive art: Art Director Massimiliano Siccardi, Creative Director Vittorio Guidotti, and Composer Luca Longobardi.
MASSIMILIANO SICCARDI - ART DIRECTOR
Massimiliano Siccardi, the Art Director behind many of Lighthouse Immersive’s exhibits, takes it upon himself to revive the works of artists like Vincent van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, and Frida Kahlo in new multi-sensory experiences. Massimiliano spent time studying contemporary dance in London before transitioning to video arts where he created mise-en-scènes for choreographers and theatre
performances. He went on to become a renowned photographer and now incorporates all his experience into a stunning and immersive marriage between various forms of art.
sM | What’s your experience watching the success of Immersive Van Gogh and how well it was received by the public?
MS — I think that this work on van Gogh was painful, in a way, because this was my third time doing an immersive exhibit. And this time, I decided to speak of van Gogh as a man. I think that what I was surprised about was that people actually understood and realized that I was talking about presenting van Gogh as a man.
sM | Why did Klimt feel like a natural extension of van Gogh? Did any differences between them make this work challenging?
MS — Actually, it was a pretty natural extension because I thought about doing Klimt from the beginning. I thought about a trilogy of the three artists that, for me, are the best of the 19th and 20th century. One was van Gogh, the second one was Klimt, and the third one was Frida Kahlo. The real challenge at this point is to continue to speak, not only about the art, but mostly about the people behind the art. I think that I was successful in this, but of course the public will tell us if the experiment of this trilogy was really a success.
sM | How were you able to surprise yourself and try something new, while meeting the expectations from the success of Immersive Van Gogh?
MS — These artists represented the idea of big changes for the cultural expectations of their time. I don’t know if I’ll be able to surprise and amaze the audience at the same level. Of course, we’ll see. In fact, with Klimt I brought something new because, for me, it also represents the next stage of the evolution of the immersive art and the emotional realm of immersive art. I always want to go to the next step.
sM | What are other concepts, artists, or ideas that you would like to translate into the immersive space?
MS — Frida is a very interesting artist because she experienced the Russian Revolution and the Industrial Revolution in the United States. She became an icon because she was the first to give her body to the service of her own art and was the first performer in the traditional arts. That’s why she’s still appreciated. So I worked on her being a pop artist—surreal, but also human. I think she is the first female artist shown in an immersive space in North America.
In Klimt’s exhibit, there’s a scene in a painting where two people are trying to kiss but they never connect. I inserted a piece of choreographed dance in the show. These dancers represent what happens in the body the moment you’re going to kiss. There, my background in dance and theatre is being represented in how I make the images dance.
VITTORIO GUIDOTTI - CREATIVE DIRECTOR
sM | For Immersive Klimt, what did you want to do differently from IVG? And how did your team at Visioni Eccentriche continue to push boundaries with this project?
VG — Immersive Van Gogh and Immersive Klimt are stylistically two very different pieces.
Van Gogh has purely an emotional approach. Our efforts focused on enhancing the emotions evoked by the paintings. The concept behind Klimt is the idea of Revolution. The Viennese Secessionist painters challenged the art conventions of their time. We wanted to do the same, experimenting with new animation techniques and approach the graphic work from a more contemporary perspective, to give back to these paintings their meanings, but in a modern context.
Another novelty was shooting a dance-video that I had the pleasure of directing. We filmed a choreography created by Marco Realino that reinterprets Klimt’s most famous work, The Kiss. This piece evokes the painting’s sensations and creates a harmonic contrast between past and present. Immersive Klimt is a revolution that starts quietly and ends thunderously. Our work is almost invisible at the beginning of the show, but increasingly more evident toward the end, when it completely upsets the nature of the paintings in a climax of minimalistic deconstruction where everything becomes a pure equilibrium of shapes and colors.
LUCA LONGOBARDI - COMPOSER
sM | The soundtrack for Immersive Klimt Revolution is incredibly diverse. How do you think this diversity compliments the artworks and surprises the audience?
LL — This diversity exists because everything in the music, even if not in an obvious way, is a nuanced reflection of the contemporary concept of ‘revolution’. It all starts with Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, which is used in its entirety and becomes the fulcrum around which the original composition and other musical choices revolve. Tradition allows innovation because it reveals the embryo of language.
And it is precisely this language that presents different nuances which, represented in such a unitary context, allows the viewer to exchange Klimt’s vision with ours. Immersive Klimt Revolution allows a conscious immersion in a place of sounds and images that makes us feel at the centre of something bigger, a place with which we can all finally resonate.
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