Making my way across Plaza del Ayuntamiento towards #INGOYA, I was unsure of what to expect from this immersive experience. Currently screening at Ateneo Mercantil de Valencia, the travelling experience is making its way around Spain after a successful stint in both Granada and Madrid.
The use of the word experience is a nod towards its step away from traditional presentations of Francisco de Goya’s artwork. Through the use of advanced technology, viewers are offered a more interactive encounter with art. The exhibition’s focus on digitalisation is clear not only through the inclusion of the hashtag in its title, but the use of scannable QR codes in the first stage of the experience.
This first stage, the Didactic Room, gives the viewers a chance to learn a bit about Goya’s intentions as an artist and significance as a figure. This is presented to us through two adjacent timelines; one on Goya’s life, and one on historical context. The historical points selected are wide-ranging, and some especially niche, such as the publication of Gazu Hyakki Yako in 1781 (an illustrated book on Japanese supernatural beings). However, most points envelop European monarchy, war and culture. Indeed, these are all themes evident in Goya’s work. Outside of these main timelines, there are four larger pieces of information: Goya in Service of the Court, Censorship of Human Vices, Goya and Women and Goya and Violence.
After fifteen minutes, the Didactic Room morphs into the Emotional Room, the main component of the experience. Suddenly, viewers find the room dotted with various projections of Goya’s work, often moving or animated. Having never attended an exhibition like this before, I initially had a sense of being overwhelmed by the numerous screens – I didn’t know where to look. However, it quickly dawned on me that this was a part of the immersive process. Through quite literally surrounding the viewers, the creators successfully engulf you in Goya’s world.
Grouping certain images together based on feeling and imagery, the screening has a way of transforming you from one scene to the next. You get the sense that the music has been very carefully selected, intensifying the experience through bringing out the tone of the artwork. For example, incorporations of the carnivalesque are accompanied by jovial, uplifting music, whereas grotesque depictions of cannibalism in Saturn Devouring His Son are accompanied by equally sinister background music. The website states: ‘all are well known pieces, all masterpieces of music, heritage of humanity that emotionally surround us in this great audiovisual experience, with three of the great hallmarks of the Master’s Art: his universality, his humanity and above all his modernity’. Here, emphasis is placed on Goya’s modernity, and his artwork’s ability to transcend periods of time. Through merging Goya with modern visual techniques, this aspect of his work is physically brought to life.
It is perhaps true, then, that through merging technology with traditional art, art can be viewed as it has never been viewed before. Those walking in to the experience knowing almost nothing about Goya can be sure that they will walk away feeling the emotion of his artwork. In a world increasingly ridden with screens and visual effects, does #INGOYA hint at the future of art presentation?
Report by Anusha Vasudeva
Article copyright 24/7 Valencia
Find out more about ‘#INGOYA: The Immersive Experience’
Exhibit opening times: Mon – Sun, 11:00h – 21:00h
Entrance fee: €12.50, or €14.50 on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays (see link for reduced group prices, etc.)
‘#INGOYA: The Immersive Experience’ until 30th June
Ateneo Mercantil de Valencia
Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 18
#INGOYA: The Immersive Experience