Carrieres De Lumineres – Catedrale d’Images
The Carrieres du Lumieres was created from defunct white limestone quarry Carrieres du Val d’Enfer. The stone was needed for the surrounding Chateau and Les Baux Village. The quarry was closed in 1935 for economic reasons.
With the help of Joseph Svoboda, one a respected scenographer, the quarry was transformed house magnificent light and sound shows that ‘fully involve the audience’. The town has recently handed over the management to a private company and the whole thing has gone up a notch.
I caught two shows when I went up there a few weeks month, Gaugin-Van Gogh and Metamorphosis. Both involve the entire main room – floor to 60ft ceiling – is covered in light, including the floor itself. Its a crazy spectacle when a 15ft flower starts appearing above your head. These shows last for about 10 minutes each and they really use the space well.
Gaugin-Van Gogh: This show is a journey through the life works of Paul Gaugin and Vincent Van Gogh. The aim of the show is said to be to draw similarities to and analyse differences in their styles and works. Their careers ended up being fairly similar in structure and for this reason the pairing in this gallery setting works well. Both Gaugin and Van Gogh both originated or worked in the region for parts of their lives, this makes this show relevant to surrounding visitors and also showcases some of the talent with inspiration drawn from the climate, scenery and general vibe of the place
Metamorphosis: This show was a shorter spectacle but in many ways more impressive. Metamorphosis was less relevant to the local area but seemed more to be made to show off the capabilities of the light and sound system inside the ‘cave’. It showed 20ft seeds grow into 50ft flowers and an evolution of an ecosystem, side by side with a journey through the solar system. It was a lot to take in.
Again I would recommend this to anyone who is passing through Provence, even though it is fucking ages away. I managed, just about, to take some stills of inside the quarry during some of the shows. Here’s some of the good ones…