Train travel may seem antiquated, but a handful of new launches in Japan and France offer a new look at experiential art exhibits. Europe and Japan are still utilizing trains, transforming the commuter experience to more scenic ways of traveling long distances through creative innovations that offer something beyond just a landscape.
In March, the French National Railway Company, SNCF, partnered with 3M and the Musée d’Orsay to create a train covered in Impressionist paintings from that can be viewed at the museum. Here’s how it works: the art is viewable through a special film installed through the train created by 3M Graphic Communication Design. The installation highlights the “extraordinary in everyday life” and connects the storied past of railway landscapes that inspired artists of the Impressionist movement.
The next time you happen to be on a train in Paris, don’t look out. Direct your gaze, instead, to its interior, because you’re in for a very pleasant surprise. The usually unassuming décor of the trains running along the suburban RER C train lines have been ditched for a more sophisticated rendition of the Palace of Versailles.
The JR East launched the art-focused train, adding to Japan’s already famous bullet trains that inspire a more pleasurable train travel experience and add to the already breathtaking views of the country’s natural landscape. Dubbed the “Genbi Shinkansen,” the Joetsu Shinkansen line has been donned by JR East as the “fastest art experience”. The included artists are Nao Matsumoto,Yusuke Komuta, Kentaro Kobuke, Naoki Ishikawa, Haruka Kojin, Mika Ninagawa, the collective Paramodel, and New York based artist Brian Alfred. Each artist works in various mediums (think: photography, illustration, and film). The idea behind the exhibition is that each artist expresses the notion of travel and interpretations of the regional landscape.
Whether you are into classic painterly landscapes of the Impressionist era or modern art, there is a train waiting for your next adventure. Needless to say, this is a giant leap from the mundane advertisements that fill our visual space on the road or in the sky.