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The Canterbury Festival is now underway for 2023, with Luxmuralis transforming the Cathedral for the second year running. This time the installation artists are here for five days, bringing ‘Renaissance’ to life in the historic venue from Tuesday 26th – Saturday 30th September. Widely renowned for their mesmerising projections and immersive art, last year Luxmuralis showcased Shine: Let There Be Light at the Cathedral and it was a truly incredible experience.
Fast forward a year and I had the opportunity to review Renaissance as part of my festival coverage. This is the first of four festival events that I will be reviewing, with the rest booked in for late October and early November. I headed to the venue on Tuesday evening, excited to find out how the creative team would approach the mammoth task of bringing the historical period to life in the striking Cathedral location.
Theme and structure
Focusing on cultural themes of the 14th – 17th centuries including art, music, religion and scientific discovery, the walk-through exhibition takes visitors back in time through sounds, sights and ambiance. From the minute that you enter the building and follow the steps down to the crypt, you can instantly hear David Harper’s musical compositions, which are hauntingly beautiful and stylistically appropriate for the time period. It sets the scene for the journey visitors are about to make, as Luxmuralis delve deep into the cultural significance of the Renaissance period through their work.
The exhibition follows the same walking route as Shine: Let There Be Light, covering the Cathedral’s walkways, Quire, Nave and the exterior of the South Door. Whilst it would have been ideal to see a little variation in the route compared to last year, the building is expansive and complex to navigate, so I can completely understand why Luxmuralis would work within the same format. This also ultimately saves the best until last with the spectacular Nave at the end.
It goes without saying that the projections are of exceptional quality and intrigue, but within Renaissance I particularly enjoyed the focus on figures, discoveries and typography. It makes for some fantastic transitions between the lengthy 8-10 minute projections, where imaginations can run wild as the material darts across the venue’s archways. The golden ratio, sketches of the human form, Latin inscriptions and mathematics equations are some of the many elements depicted within the projections. The work is also significantly more multi-dimensional, particularly through the example of a spark of kinetic energy which is generated when two fingers collide.
The penultimate section of the tour features a voiceover section, where a narrator talks about the masters of the time and their significance to the art world. Famous paintings are projected onto the walls, most notably the Mona Lisa, and I could have spent hours listening to the spoken word as the artwork flashed before my eyes. The narration is a thoughtful touch and will appeal to anyone deeply engrossed in the timeless artwork, of which there seemed to be many last night.
Are the installations still impressive if you have seen Luxmuralis before?
A thousand times yes. I was slightly concerned that the novelty might have worn off this year, but what Peter Walker, David Harper and team have managed to do with Renaissance is nothing short of inspiring. The exhibition is conscientious, respectful and encourages the viewer to look at the time period from a completely different perspective. It visualises the era in an uplifting blend of light, motion and sound, showcasing the achievements made throughout history. It would be appropriate to compare the work to the highlights of the Renaissance, showcasing everything society was able to overcome as it left the Dark Ages.
An absolute must-see of this year’s Canterbury Festival, when you look beyond the world-famous paintings, Renaissance is slightly more subtle than last year’s counterpart. It is largely due to the delicate nuances to the historical period it is inspired by, which encourage the viewer to spend more time at each eye-catching exhibit and reflect on the intricate details and cultural influences that make up the production. Last minute tickets can be purchased via the festival’s website, with several entrance slots available after 8pm on the remaining days. The immersive art show is based at Canterbury Cathedral until Saturday 30th September.
Thanks for reading my blog today.
Love Kat xxxx
*My ticket for Renaissance was gifted in exchange for a review.