As much as Londoners love their city they want the occasional escapism, such as being transported to another space, time and universe — or at least that’s the trend museums, entertainment platforms and artists are capitalizing on. With so many ways to be immersed, we decided to round up top exhibitions happening in the British capital right now so you won’t miss the chance to experience something new and unique.
Located at Marble Arch, one of the hottest interactive experiences to unveil in London over the last year is Frameless, the UK’s largest and the first permanent, purpose-built home for experiential art. And there is a reason for it. Upon arrival, you descend to the galleries by escalator, taking you down into an abstract mirrored world. It certainly makes you feel like Alice going down the rabbit hole.
Below there is a large modern venue containing digitalised versions of 43 famous paintings from 31 masters, plus a cafe bar and gift shop, all under one roof. The attraction successfully caters to visitors of all ages, with younger children and teenagers finding it particularly accessible and captivating.
Frameless does live up to its name as it’s a true 360 degrees experience with seamless wall-to-wall projections. Guests will see Rembrandt, Monet, Cézanne, Dalí, Kandinsky, Klimt and Van Gogh masterpieces projected and animated across the walls, floors, and pillars of four galleries, with original soundtracks playing in the background, as the images transform and shift from one artwork to another. You could find yourself interacting with the brushstrokes, walking through a maze of abstract shapes or surrounded by the vastness of a painting’s landscape.
Ticket prices vary depending on the date and time of the visit, for example Frameless Lates (6pm-10pm adult-only monthly showings) can be purchased for £13.50 while standard tickets start from £25. Either way it’s totally worth every penny. The experience lasts about one hour but you can easily spend there even longer without realising it. Frameless is mesmerising and it really needs to be seen to be believed as there is nothing else like.
Read our full review here.
Situated at the intersection of Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross Road, Outernet is a unique immersive public environment with the largest deployment of video screens in the world. Here, you can find two public galleries: Now Building and Now Trending where gigantic 8K 360° screens are delivering jaw-dropping audio-visual experiences that anyone can visit for free every daily.
The district also features The Now Arcade – a 21-meter-long LED tunnel which fully surrounds pedestrians as they make their way into the Outernet district from Denmark Street. Previous pop-ups included The Witcher-themed maze to celebrate Season 3 launch of Netflix fantasy drama and a new concept car from Peugeot.
Our ultimate favourite resident show is The Summer Palace where visitors can experience a journey through animated paintings into outer space, from a window inside a 3D museum space. Another exciting project ‘Spaces In-Between’ showcases digital flamingos, vivid patterns and interacts with body movements. It’s hard to believe that entertainment of such a high quality can be free of charge.
Read our full review here.
David Hockney: Bigger & Closer
Located at Lightroom, a new arts venue at King’s Cross’ Coal Drops Yard, this exhibition is the first ever project dedicated to artworks of a still-living artist. Moreover, Hockney helped design the experience, despite recently turning 86.
This show offers a chance to see through his eyes in a different way from a gallery, making even Hockney’s most familiar work feel new. Held in a single four-storey-high space, the 360-degree projections feature 60 years of the artist’s career through colossal moving images that appear on all four giant walls and the floor. This is by far the biggest space we’ve seen for an immersive experience.
The six-chapter, 50-minute journey tunes in commentary narrated by Hockney himself, in which he reveals his artistic process and insight into his ideas and inspiration for his work. This is an eloquent and educational lecture for a wide audience regardless of their age and background.
Lightroom is equipped with plenty of seating and some people opt for laying on the carpeted floor, or you can go up to the balcony viewing area and see everything from above. You don’t need to be Hockney fan to appreciate the show, although it’s hard to stay unbiased after visiting Bigger & Closer. The exhibition runs until December 3, 2023 with tickets from £25.
Feel like you’re stepping into a piece of art with a multimedia exhibition of the works of the late and great Salvador Dalí. Visitors can relax on deck chairs while absorbing the animated surreal masterpieces with captivating sound and lighting effects. Here is Dalí’s iconic melting clocks, imaginative visual illusions and avant-garde symbols moving literally under your feet. Equipped with complimentary 3D glasses guests can almost touch the objects of the Spanish genius’ timeless work.
In another room grab a wireless VR-headset and discover a constantly evolving digital space of The Elephants, The Ants and The Persistence of Memory and other famous Dalí’s paintings. The freedom of movement will give you the realistic feeling of being in the sea, the desert, space or even inside a candle or an egg. Located in Shoreditch and tickets are from £22.90.
Genesis is a new audio visual project uniquely located at the Grade II-listed Swiss Church just north of Covent Garden. The entire ceiling and all the structural interior elements of the building were measured, calculated and sized so that the projections would fit perfectly with the proportions of the building.
Lying on beanbags, the audience can watch a four-part journey of vibrant and striking digital art. Encompassing the elements of light, water, earth, and plants the show represents the first three days of the creation of the Universe. Music perfectly complements the transitions of the artwork.
Overall, the experience lasts approximately 30 minutes which is perfectly proportioned to the ticket price starting at £12 for adults. There are plenty of opportunities to take photos to make sure this is an experience you never forget.
Read our full review here.
Image credits: © Jordan Curtis Hughes, Richard Blake, Montana Lowery; David Hockney and Justin Sutcliffe; Fever