Immersed in Van Gogh
By Renae Brabham
The 30,000 square feet of artistic immersion and moving parts was truly a journey through all of the stages of Van Gogh's artistic development.
I so enjoyed Paquin Entertainment Group's presentation "Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience" created by French Canadian creative director at Montreal's Normal Studio. The production is anything but normal, which should have V. V. Gogh applauding from beyond and perhaps changing his view on notoriety.
Van Gogh once wrote, "I've never felt a desire (and I don't believe I ever shall) to bring the public to my work... a certain popularity seems to me, the least of desirable things."
The 30,000 square feet of artistic immersion and moving parts was truly a journey through all of the stages of Van Gogh's artistic development. You can witness the changing of styles and color as he progresses and regresses artistically and mentally through his career and life. It is obvious that Van Gogh craved a beauty that he couldn't fabricate into his own life. Van Gogh, like many artists that struggle with depression and mental illness, are often lumped into the "dark arts" category. The progression of this presentation proves color and sunflowers and starry nights are the hope of creativity.
"The uglier, older, meaner, iller, poorer I get, the more I wish to take my revenge with brilliant color," he proclaimed. This couldn't be more evident as you watch the presentation unfold on the walls and under your feet. Your auditory senses will also be tickled with the perfect playlist for the arrangements.
The impact of this visual menagerie of over 300 of Van Gogh's paintings will long outlast the impression of quiet museums and galleries, musky old art copies from books. Your eyes are beckoned to wander. The image in front of you is not the same as those behind you. You will spin and pause and spin some more, much to the attune of a sunflower craning to its source of light and giving that Van Gogh himself was mesmerized by. I was sucked into a hypnotic trance as the kaleidoscope of Van Gogh's paint strokes washed over me, awakening every now and then to find another enthusiast standing next to me where I thought Don was.
Beyond Van Gogh was truly what it is named, an immersive experience.
I especially enjoyed hearing the "Wows" of teenagers and children. But more so I enjoyed the banter, the real-life stuff that I know Van Gogh would appreciate.
An elderly woman to her friend or sister who informed her that she was going to the gift shop. "Now don't go spending all your money in there, we are going to stop to eat."
"You know he was crazy right?" one man asked a girl. "Yes, crazy good." she responded.
Woman behind me, "Did you see him blink?"
Me, "Yes ma'am I did."
Me to hubby, "Did you see him blink?"
Or was it a wink?
Beyond Van Gogh was truly what it is named, an immersive experience. I hope that the same presentation can represent other artists as well.
- Wear a sweater. They have to keep the rooms super cold for the projectors.
- Get a corner viewpoint so that you can watch most of it without the owlish head revolutions.
- The exhibit ends its run at the Charleston Area Convention Center September 4. Tickets availablehere.