Nancy Levinson | Essays

Greenaway at the Armory

For the past several years the polymathic Peter Greenaway — film director, librettist, curator, VJ — has been transforming some of the masterpieces of Western art into multimedia experiences mixing light, sound and digital technology. This season one of his "Classic Paintings Revisited" will be staged for the first time in the United States, when Leonardo's Last Supper: A Vision comes to the Park Avenue Armory in December in New York.

Leonardo's Last Supper was first staged, for one night only in 2008, on the fragile surface of the actual late 15th-century mural at the Santa Marie delle Grazie in Milan. Others in the ambitious series include The Night Watch, at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in 2006, and The Wedding at Cana, at the 2009 Venice Biennale.

See here, for a recent Greenaway lecture at Berkeley, including a video of the performance in Milan.

Posted in: Arts + Culture, Media

Comments [2]

Greenaway's installation was not shown on the surface of the original mural, for very good reasons, but on a projection of it in Palazzo Reale. And, to be honest, it was pretty ..., well, not very exciting. Here's a translation of what I wrote for the Austrian newspaper Die Presse at the time:

With no doubt, Peter Greenaway is past his best. Anybody who was wondering what the British film director has been doing in the last few years, here is the answer: He has, apart from one full-length and a couple of short movies, discovered multimedia. Thus the multimedia light installation „The Last Supper“.

Initially, the spectacle should have been projected directly onto Da Vinci’s original in the Dominican convent Santa Maria Delle Grazie, but at the last minute the city fathers realized that old oil and bright light just don’t go together. So, the staging for this show has been shifted to Palazzo Reale near the dome. There the fresco is projected onto the wall in high resolution with the multimedia show projected over this image. Every 20 minutes 50 people are given access and the ability to see what great features Greenaway has found in his multimedia computer program: toning down, brightening up, adding color, reducing it, outlining, …
Amelie Znidaric

Amelie Znidaric - Thanks, appreciate the correction.
Nancy Levinson

Jobs | July 12