The art world is constantly evolving and over recent years a new trend has emerged, with a focus on all-encompassing immersive exhibitions currently sweeping across the capital. Whether it’s London’s trippiest new museum or one of the world’s most famous artists getting the full-on immersive treatment – complete with floor-to-ceiling projections and VR headsets – the capital’s most sought-after exhibitions have now gone high-tech. Here we’ve rounded up the ground-breaking art installations you won’t want to miss this spring.
Immersive Exhibitions in London
When Frameless opened in Marble Arch towards the end of last year, it swiftly cemented itself as London’s go-to spot for immersive exhibitions. The largest permanent multi-sensory experience in the UK, the space features four carefully curated galleries presenting works from some of the world’s most famous artists as you’ve never seen them before.
In the first room, dream-like worlds are created with pieces by Klimt, Ernst and Munch splashed across the walls, while the second is a symphony of colour, exploring pieces by Monet, van Gogh and Seurat. ‘The World Around Us’ is the central topic in the third gallery, with arresting landscapes by Cezanne and Rembrandt on show. The final gallery is dedicated to the pioneers of abstract art, with vivid colourscapes by Kandinsky, Mondrian and Klee. Accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack, a trip here is a feast for all the senses.
Dalí Cybernetics: The Immersive Experience
The Boiler House
Until 17 April 2023
The trippy paintings by this renowned surrealist painter feel almost made for this medium, where you can fully immerse yourself in a world full of his melting clocks and fantastical creations. Held at the Boiler House on Brick Lane, the multi-sensory setting really lends itself to getting inside the head of the Catalonian genius, bringing his unique paintings to glorious technicolour life.
Split across four Dalinian environments – the sea, the sky, the desert and the void – visitors are treated to spellbinding 3D visuals and a 360-degree immersive room, where Dalí’s striking images flood the walls, ceilings and floors. The exhibition also features a whole new level of technical wizardry, coordinated by digital art production studio Layers of Reality, Exhibition Hub and Fever. Holograms, VR and AI all feed into this dreamlike experience, which recreates Dali’s parallel universe in the heart of east London.
David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away)
Until 4 June 2023
When London’s newest cutting-edge creative space Lightroom opened in King’s Cross in January, there was only one artist they wanted to launch with: David Hockney. The legendary pop artist’s colour-saturated works are given the full immersive treatment, transforming the walls, ceilings and floors with his infamous swimming pools, trees and canyons.
Spanning Hockney’s remarkable 60-year career, the show takes us from LA to Yorkshire and up to the present day in Normandy, offering an unprecedented look at the artist’s creative life. Over a cycle of six themed chapters, each running alongside a specially composed score by Nico Muhly and commentary by the artist himself, Hockney reveals his process to us, showing us how he captures the passing of time in his polaroid collages and the joy of spring on his iPad. A must-see for all art lovers.
The Beams at the Centre for New Culture
Until 4 June 2023
Some of the biggest names in art and technology have been brought together for this, the inaugural exhibition at The Beams, East London’s Centre for New Culture. The vast post-industrial warehouse was formerly part of the Tate & Lyle factory complex in the Royal Docks, and has been transformed by Broadwick Live into one of the UK’s largest art spaces to open in recent years. With its 55,000 sq ft, it’s the ideal spot for the global events group (they’re behind Printworks London and Field Day, to name a few of their projects) to present Thin Air.
The show has been curated by digital artist and curator Alex Czetwertynski and promises to take visitors on a “transformative journey”. Seven global contemporary artists – including 404.zero, James Clar and Robert Jenke – have created site specific installations, working with light, atmospherics, sound and experimental new media. “In these intricate media, light and sound pieces, ephemeral structures and shapes appear, almost literally, out of thin air,” explains Czetwertynski. The exhibition marks the beginning of an ongoing visual arts programme at this cavernous, cutting-edge new venue.
This mind-bending new experience in Oxford Circus is dedicated to optical illusions, hence its name: Twist stands for ‘The Way I See Things’. Developed in collaboration with artists, psychologists, philosophers, mathematicians and neuroscientists, it’s a trip down the rabbit hole into a world of illusions that allows us to explore what happens when all our senses are deceived. What effect does that have on the brain, for example? And how do these stimuli shape our sense of reality?
Exhibits include one of the world’s oldest optical illusions, a 500-year-old painting by Hans Holbein the Younger with a hidden skull that can only be viewed from a certain angle, shown alongside some of the newest. Colours change before your very eyes, kaleidoscopic patterns dance across the walls and audio tracks play tricks on your ears as you wander through the various rooms. Featuring more than 60 exhibits by artists including British reverspective artist Patrick Hughes and Dr. Akiyoshi Kitaoka, who has collaborated with Jeff Koons and Lady Gaga, it will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about your senses.
The Spaces In-Between
Until September 2023
Fancy exploring the world’s largest digital canvas? Now you can do just that at Outernet London, which also happens to be the biggest digital exhibition space in Europe. Designed by celebrated light artist Rupert Newman, the immersive exhibition has been created as an interactive body-movement installation, meaning you can sync your body movements with the artwork. When you move, so do the images on the digital canvas.
The exhibition is made up of three different artworks: the first two, ‘Tessellations’ and ‘A Step Beyond’, transport visitors through a digital natural world. The third, ‘Geometric Soup’, has been designed as an interactive experience where geometric shapes respond to your every move and gesture. Spread across the vast Outernet building, which includes a 21-metre-long LED tunnel, and totally free to the public, it’s a brilliant addition to London’s immersive art exhibition scene.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms
Until 28 August 2023
This hugely popular immersive exhibition may have been running since May 2021, but getting your hands on a ticket is still proving tricky, with the latest batches selling out almost as soon as they’re released – hence the need to keep extending the exhibition’s run, which is now booking until the end of August. Yayoi Kusama’s Instagram-famous Infinity Mirror Rooms are known the world over, and this takeover at the Tate Modern features two of her most spectacular installations.
The first, Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled With The Brilliance of Life, features a walkway of mirrored tiles, with thousands of tiny LED lights twinkling from the ceiling and reflected in a seemingly endless cascade of mirrors. Alongside that sits Chandelier of Grief, which features a rotating chandelier of Swarovski crystals. Do whatever you can to nab yourself a ticket – this is one multi-sensory experience not to be missed.
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
The Old Truman Brewery
Until 16 April 2023
One of the first major blockbuster immersive exhibitions to kick off the current art trend, this all-consuming show brings some of Van Gogh’s most famous artworks to life via a series of different mediums. Having popped-up in cities all over the world and different venues around London, the show is now being held at the cavernous Old Truman Brewery in east London, where a 20,000 square foot room has been transformed into a spectacular light and sound experience.
The main Immersive Room is the centre point of the exhibition, an impressive two-story space that features 360-degree projections of the artist’s most compelling works – including Starry Night and Sunflowers, among over 300 other sketches, drawings and paintings – in a spellbinding feat that makes it feel as if you are walking into the paintings themselves. Alongside this there’s also a 10-minute VR experience which takes you through a day in the life of the artist, as well as the chance to make your own Van Gogh-esque pictures and have them projected onto the walls.
Weird Sensation Feels Good
Until 10 April 2023
Opening last year to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, this show at the Design Museum is the UK’s first ever exhibition dedicated to the ASMR phenomenon, which has become one of the internet’s largest cultural movements. Exploring content designed to trigger an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (otherwise known as ASMR), the immersive show includes a series of 40 audio, visual and tactile works, which visitors are encouraged to interact with.
The exhibition taps into a wide variety of different mediums, including works by Björk and world-renowned TV painter Bob Ross, as well as a performative installation by Tobias Bradford and viral works by YouTubers including The Slow Mo Guys and HidaMari Cooking, all of which bring the ASMR experience to life. Visitors to the show will also have the chance to create their own ASMR in an interactive studio space conceptualised and designed by sound-led artist Julie Rose Bower.