What does a Vincent van Gogh painting smell like? If it’s a vase of sunflowers, you’ll get a spritz of citrus and lavender to evoke the south of France, where the post-impressionist created these works. As you’re served wine and cheese, Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C Major will be piped through the speakers.
“Instead of displaying a piece of art in isolation, we’re telling a story with high-tech, multi-sensory tools,” says Bruce Peterson. “It’s almost a cinematic experience.”
If you haven’t heard much about Peterson, you soon will. Next year, the former high school teacher will open The Lume, a 2000-square-metre gallery in South Melbourne that accommodates 400 guests. His first exhibition features thousands of van Gogh’s paintings, sketches and personal letters – but no original pieces. Instead, he’ll beam the images onto giant curved walls and vast floors, with music and fragrance tailored to each period of the artist’s life.
All up, Peterson will spend $15 million on 150 high-definition projectors, sound equipment, aroma diffusers and a commercial kitchen, bar and cafe.