August 17, 2022 | By Graeme Kemlo

From the team that brought you the immersive Van Gogh experience at Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC) comes Monet & Friends Alive.

Founder of Grande Experiences, Bruce Peterson, and chief executive of MCEC, Peter King, previewed the next exhibition due to open this October at Grande Experiences’ long-staying digital exhibition installation, THE LUME, at MCEC. And (spoiler alert) it debuts with a magnificent 360-degree panorama of Paris, complete with its major monuments, then moves into rural 19th century France with Monet and the French impressionists including Pissarro, Renoir, Cézanne and Manet.

As crowds still queued outside THE LUME to view the current Van Gogh exhibition, Peterson briefed media on the upcoming exhibition.

“The art is in storytelling, engaging all the senses, sight, sound, smell and taste,” he said.  The new show not only has its own fragrance, there will be a French café serving food and drink within the exhibition itself.

Peterson and his team have upped the ante with a number of new touchpoints for visitors to the new art experience, including the chance to walk across the famous bridge in Monet’s garden.

Grande Experiences’ 220 experiences in 170 host cities in 32 languages have attracted more than 20 million visitors and Peterson professed great pride that his Melbourne-based family-and-friends company had achieved this.

Monet & Friends Alive comprises almost 700 of the artists’ paintings rendered in high definition from floor to ceiling in the 3,000m2 gallery four storeys high. Meanwhile behind the scenes a technical crew has spent nine months putting the show together using hundreds of kilometres of cabling, a 99 channel audio system and special effects all timed to a musical score that includes Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Offenbach.

King says more than 600,000 people have so far visited THE LUME and more than 50 business events have been hosted in the space, from cocktails and networking to full conference dinners and corporate product launches.

He believes that without the Van Gogh exhibition, “probably we would not have hosted half the number of business events”.

“I think it is one of the most exciting things we have done in my time here,” King said.

Founder of Grande Experiences, Bruce Peterson (left), and chief executive of MCEC, Peter King (right) at the launch.