Bristol Theatre Reviews

Review Frameless Marble Arch London

During October half term, we went to Frameless in Marble Arch, London. Frameless is a recently opened digital art exhibition featuring projection and motion sensor technology which creates paintings from famous artists and brings them to life in four large dedicated spaces.

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The four curated galleries feature the projections on a time-loop, all of them are approximately 15 – 25 minutes in total. They play to a specially composed soundtrack and are the product of the creative minds behind the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Immersive art is a Big Thing at the moment. Bristol itself has recently had the highly successful Van Gogh The Immersive Experience. Whilst in London during half term, we had an empty and wet Monday evening in which to kill time and settled on an evening trip to Frameless. But was it any good?

Upon arrival, you descend to the galleries by escalator, taking you down into an abstract mirrored world. It certainly makes you feel like Alice going down the rabbit hole. Below, is a large open plan cafe area and off to the side, entry to the four galleries lit by dazzling fibre optics.

The way the four galleries are set out is good. You have clear information outside each about the paintings featured and crucially, the timing of the animation loop.

The first room we entered was utterly bizarre. We weren’t quite prepared for the sheer scale of Hieronymus Bosch’s fantastical world sailing around us. This was a very intense room. It featured mirrored flooring and ceiling creating an illusion that you are almost floating, the people next to you being both below you and above you at the same time. With the added moving projections on the floor, we actually felt somewhat motion sick so left after a short stay.

The second room featured abstract art projected onto transparent canvas. Although the effect was impressive we weren’t fans of the paintings and so left quite quickly. At this point, the visit didn’t feel like it was going very well.

Our third gallery was intense and dramatic. It featured roaring seas, a ship in a storm (The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (1633) by Rembrandt). Lightning cracked in the sky and presently a volcano erupted (Vesuvius in Eruption, with a View over the Islands in the Bay of Naples (1776–80) by Joseph Wright of Derby).

The young person I was with is autistic and absolutely hated the loudness, the drama and the intensity despite it being pretty cool. So again, we left sooner than anticipated.

The final room we went in was incredible. We spent over an hour in this one space. The gallery featured: Starry Night Over The Rhone (1880) and Self-Portrait (1887) by Vincent van Gogh. The Mont Saint-Michel Setting Sun (1897) by Paul Signac. The Waterlily Pond: Green Harmony by Claude Monet (1899). Portrait of Metzinger by Robert Delaunay (1906). The Garden at Bougival (1884) by Berthe Morisot and A Sunday Afternoon on The Island of La Grande Jatte (1884 – 86) by Georges Seurat.

Each painting was interactive, which saw adults and children alike kicking colours at the wall, running through snow, sending paint swirling. It was brilliant.

What became apparent was there was a room for everyone at Frameless. Our room was clearly Colour in Motion.

When visiting Frameless, you probably want to choose your time with care. We went at 7pm on a Monday evening. It was steadily busy when we arrived, not uncomfortably so and it did thin out a lot towards the end of the evening.

As it approached closing time, we had Colour in Motion entirely to ourselves. This was perfect for us. As with anything, the busier it is, the less fun it can be. By chance, we got our timing perfect, especially so considering it was school half term.

Was it worth going? Absolutely. Everyone will have a favourite room where they will spend the most time. Ours was Colour in Motion, which at over an hour’s stay in the one gallery was worth the entry fee alone.

For more information about Frameless, visit: