Explore the timeline and brushstrokes of greatness
When Don McLean sang, “The world was never made for someone as beautiful as you,” he was referring to the tragic hero of art history, Vincent van Gogh. Ironically, all of Van Gogh’s work has made the world, through its perspective, ever more beautiful.
One hundred and thirty-one years after his untimely death, Van Gogh is once again posthumously recognized for his groundbreaking contributions to Post-Impressionism through the immersive experience created by Exhibition Hub, from where it was curated and produced. Exhibition Hub has organized over 70 major events in countries around the world. Other artist-themed immersive experiences included celebrations of the work of Gustav Klimt and Claude Monet.
However, there is something special about Van Gogh’s life that appeals to art connoisseurs in the same way that literary experts are drawn to Edgar Allan Poe. According to academic Eric G. Wilson, everyone loves a good train wreck. Thus, Vincent Van Gogh, the man and his work seem to create a mixture of curiosity and adoration.
The immersive experience begins in the stairwell at 300 Vesey Street, located along the waterfront of Battery Park City in New York City. Framed samples of some of Van Gogh’s works serve as an aperitif at the rich banquet that awaits beyond the last landing of the stairwell. Once on the exhibition floor, the visitor is greeted by a larger than life bust of the artist himself, with the swirling brushstrokes as a backdrop.
Further exploration takes guests to a timeline of the artist’s life, which, although abridged, has filled a space in the gallery that would be the envy of any artist. Envy might not be the best word to use, however, as Van Gogh never received the honor his work deserved during his lifetime. It was only after his death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound that his work became not only great but also revolutionary. His brother, Theo, is responsible for offering humanity Vincent’s unique perspective, a world of vibrant emotions seen through the prism of a troubled and wildly creative mind.
One can wonder if Van Gogh would have liked to walk in the gallery. The word immersive has changed as much as the world itself. One exhibit features a digital rendering of a still life of flowers in a vase, a well-known image. As the viewer looks at the image, other Van Gogh paintings overlap, changing colors but retaining the image of a vase.
Another space in the gallery is an installation in which the famous painting, Room in Arles, is reproduced in 3D so that visitors can actually enter the painting and sit on the bed upside down. He had traveled to Arles in 1888, after living in Paris for two years, in search of softer light and brighter colors. The soft colors combined with the imagery of a room collapsing in on itself is proof that Van Gogh found his light but was unable to brighten up his psyche.
The central exhibition is a huge room that can comfortably accommodate a few hundred people seated on lounge chairs and laying down rugs, both provided by the venue. Every surface, walls, ceilings and floors become a living canvas on which Van Gogh’s painting and the story behind it are set in motion, from a field of sunflowers swaying in the wind to a starry night twinkling and swirling. in the sky.
Towards the end of the tour, the visitor is entitled to a VR experience, a day in the artist’s life condensed to 10 minutes. This virtual walk in the footsteps of the artist takes the viewer through a series of frames, as if one could see the world through the canvas of Vincent’s mind. Well, that’s why it’s called “virtual”.
Although the immersive experience will only take place in New York until the end of August, but will be in Boston from September. Through the magic of technology, guests of these experiences can gain new perspectives on the works of artists like Van Gogh. Behind every sculpture, painting, photograph, installation and mural hides an artist and a story that, if you want to truly appreciate the work, you have to embrace it and fully understand it.