A new 360° panorama by Yadegar Asisi will have its world première in Rouen, France on 4 July 2020. ‘The Cathedral of Monet – The Hope of Modernity’ will be the highlight of this year’s Normandy Impressionism, and can be viewed at the Panorama XXL exhibition centre until late 2021.
At 32 metres in height and more than 100 metres in circumference, this artwork is Yadegar Asisi’s depiction of the advances made in painting during the Impressionist era. He drew inspiration from Claude Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series, which was painted between 1892 and 1894.
For this piece, Asisi started by painting the cathedral square and its surrounding houses as they looked during the Belle Époque period based on historical photographs. He then created the Impressionist- style panorama. Made entirely using oil painting techniques, Asisi explores the effect of light on the architecture and its surroundings. Using bold dots and linear brush strokes that explode with color, he traces the light as it falls on the scene and highlights the shadows as they are cast across the cathedral’s stone exterior and surrounding houses. This is a piece that combines dazzling sunlight, Stygian shadows, sculptured, pastose forms and two-dimensional surfaces. The scenery contains nods to contemporary artists who lived at the same time as Monet – both those who were inspired by him and those who criticized the new style. After the panorama was completed, the work was digitalized, magnified and printed on rolls of fabric.
The accompanying exhibition is the gateway to a discussion of the period, based on the intellectual impulses of the Impressionists and the views held by proponents of the academic style. The civil movement and technical innovations that resulted from this period – including oil paints in tubes, pre-produced canvases, photography as a medium and the ever-expanding railway network – fuelled debate and paved the way for new ideas and work practices. Watercolor paintings and sketches by Yadegar Asisi, as well as photos from the workshop, document the artistic process. Like Monet, Asisi made sketches of various points in the day before settling on an evening scene characterized by warm sunshine and long shadows.
A film clip offers a closer look at Yadegar Asisi and his concept, while another – a conversation with art theorist Bazon Brock – reveals how Asisi’s ideas on time and place intertwine and touches on their relevance to today.
A composition created by Eric Babank, along with a soundscape made specifically for the panorama, add to the immersive experience. Rather than offering a traditional day-to-night rhythm, the combination of music and light acknowledges the tension that arose between two eras – based on a unique style of painterly abstraction. An accompanying publication offers an introduction to the artistic concept.