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Arts & Culture

New immersive experience lets audiences go into and 'Beyond Monet'

Imagine being able to enter one of Claude Monet’s paintings and experience each brush stroke and the way the French impressionist plays with light.

That’s what “Beyond Monet,” which opened Tuesday at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, is about.

Fanny Curtat, the exhibit's art historian and consultant, said there is also original music that gets you into the artist's world.

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"So it's really something that's actually quite hard to describe, because you have to be in the space to feel it, to feel everything sway around you, move around you," she said. "The music supports everything. It's all-encompassing, and it's truly a dream-like experience.”

This is the West Coast premiere for the immersive experience, but it's not the first time Paquin Entertainment Group, the producers of the "Beyond Monet," brought an immersive art experience to the public.

In 2020, the group used what it says is cutting-edge projection technology to bring “Beyond van Gogh” to life as another way for people to experience art.

“We were in the midst of the pandemic, and here's an artist who sees beauty in his own bedroom and who sees beauty and wonder in his own backyard," Curtat said. "It was really about showcasing all the value of lessons like that in crisis and out of crisis.”

As impressive and immersive as the exhibit is, Curtat said it will never replace seeing the paintings in person, but it's a good introduction because audiences don't need to know anything about Monet or van Gogh to appreciate it.

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“It's great for an introduction to art. It's fantastic. Once you see kids inside devices like this — because they run around after the brush strokes the twirl," she said. "It's really, truly about the fantasy of being inside a world that is familiar.”

Audiences can see both "Beyond Monet" and "Beyond van Gogh" at the Wyland Center at the Del Mar Fairgrounds until April 4.

For more information, visit beyondvangogh.com/san-diego/

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