Immersive art meets cutting-edge tech at one of France’s newest galleries. Les  Bassins  des  Lumières  (Basins of Light) occupies a disused WWII submarine base outside Bordeaux. Within its four vast basins, curators use high-definition projections to turn the entire space into an arresting, technicolour exhibition space.

Visitors move past reinterpretations of familiar artworks that are projected onto every available surface. The gallery opened in 2020 with exhibitions  celebrating the work of Austrian symbolist Gustav Klimt (who painted ‘The  Kiss’) and Swiss German abstract artist Paul Klee. 

Water colours

Simulation ‘Paul Klee: Painting Music’ © Culturespaces - Nuit de Chine © Christie’s Images/Bridgeman Images © Gift of Friends of Carl Georg Heises © Bridgeman Images

The gallery is sub-divided into zones. ‘Le Cube’  showcases artists who specialise in immersive art, and the space is specially sound-proofed to add to the sense of eerie disconnection from the outside world.

In the ‘La Citerne’ zone, you can compare the projected versions of the artworks to reproductions of the originals, while in ‘Les Grands Nénuphars’ the digital artwork is dramatically projected on to the actual surface of the lightly shimmering water.

Dive right in

In the Cube. Ocean Data © Ouchhh

There's also an exhibition telling the story of the bunker's creation and its military history, plus a behind-the-scenes look at the technical wizardy that made the new gallery possible.

In short, this smart space isn't just about admiring art, it encourages you to take a headlong dive into a world of creativity.