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Visionary artist and filmmaker Peter Greenaway premieres an epic and immersive multimedia work based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper at the Park Avenue Armory, marking the first U.S. presentation of the artist’s installation work. Through his incisive manipulation of light, sound, and theatrical illusion, Greenaway creates a series of dynamic audio-visual environments that provoke new ways of seeing Leonardo’s masterpiece. The installation includes a meticulously detailed “clone” of the painting set within a full-scale replica of the nearly 4,000-square-foot apse and cupola of the Refectory of Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan, home to the original work. On view through January 6, 2011, “Leonardo’s Last Supper: A Vision by Peter Greenaway” brings new insight to one of the world’s most celebrated masterpieces. “Peter Greenaway leads the visitor through a sequence of choreographed experiences that deconstruct and then reconstruct Leonardo’s masterwork in an incredible multimedia reverie,” stated Rebecca Robertson, President of the Park Avenue Armory. “As with our recent installations by Ernesto Neto and Christian Boltanski, this work will provide a transformative experience for our visitors. Our soaring drill hall offers an unparalleled environment to experience Greenaway’s spectacular tour de force and we are thrilled to be bringing his installation work to North American audiences for the first time.”
Using groundbreaking technology to painstakingly replicate the painting’s image, texture, and original setting, “Leonardo’s Last Supper: A Vision by Peter Greenaway” illuminates the work through light and sound, bringing to life its dramatic storyline and historical context. In an intimate experience lasting approximately forty minutes, visitors first encounter a visual and aural collage of classical and Renaissance painting designed to highlight the formal pictorial elements integral to The Last Supper.
Visitors move into a detailed recreation of the Refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie for a contemplative viewing of The Last Supper “clone,” followed by Greenaway’s masterful reworking of the painting. Departing from the Refectory, visitors encounter a third multimedia exploration based on Paolo Veronese’s monumental late-Renaissance painting The Wedding at Cana that concludes the experience of Greenaway’s work. “Greenaway’s pioneering use of digital media and new technologies creates a dynamic encounter of old and new forms of visual communication and explores the concept of visual literacy for audiences today,” stated Kristy Edmunds, Consulting Artistic Director. “Leonardo’s Last Supper pushes the boundaries between painting and film, and challenges the notion of what is real through the meticulously recreated painting and its environs. A masterful original in its own right, the work provokes new ways of interpreting this iconic painting in a highly contemporary context.”
“Leonardo’s Last Supper: A Vision by Peter Greenaway” is part of the artist’s ambitious ongoing series Ten Classic Paintings Revisited, an exploration of works from around the world that encourages viewers to retrain their gaze when experiencing classical and Renaissance painting, and that creates dialogue between this age-old medium and modern technology. Greenaway launched the series in 2006 with an evocative multimedia exploration of Rembrandt’s Nightwatch in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. In June 2008, he staged a one-night-only event with the original Last Supper in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. In June 2009 Greenaway exhibited his digital exploration of The Wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese during the 2009 Biennale di Venezia and the film The Marriage about the same painting and installation at the Venice Biennial Film Festival.