Vincent van Gogh’s art has captivated audiences for centuries and now viewers are invited to watch his paintings come to life at the “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibition.
The long-awaited exhibit, which opened at the Lighthouse ArtSpace in Columbus on October 28 and will be on view until February 6, 2022, uses 500,000 cubic feet of projections to surround visitors with an animated film from the Van Gogh’s work, Corey Ross, producer of the show, said. Ross said the exhibit is designed to highlight the complexity and beauty of Van Gogh’s art in a way viewers rarely get to experience in traditional museums.
“You see Van Gogh’s art projected on a size and scale you never would have seen,” Ross said. “It allows you to see the brushstrokes and the paint stains and the technique under a microscope – so to speak – in a way that would normally be difficult to do in a museum.”
Ross said the show is designed to be participatory and gives viewers the freedom to choose how they experience some of Van Gogh’s most famous pieces, including “The Starry Night”, “The Bedroom” and “The Sunflowers”.
“You take part in the show as you walk through,” Ross said. “You choose where you go in the gallery, and where you stand or if you sit, and what time you come, and when you leave and how long you stay there.”
The experience is accompanied by an emotional musical soundtrack created by composer and pianist Luca Longobardi, according to the website. Natasha Abramova, the exhibition’s operations and special projects manager, said she believes music enhances the viewer’s experience.
“They try to focus on what’s going on and, at the same time, listen to what’s going on,” Abramova said. “It’s a combination of the visual and musical creativity of our artists.
The first iteration of the exhibit, created by installation artist Massimiliano Siccardi in Paris, accelerated on its rise to fame after being featured on the Netflix show “Emily in Paris,” Ross said. The exhibition has since spread to other parts of the world, he said, so far selling more than 3.5 million tickets in North America.
Ross said Siccardi decided to feature Van Gogh’s works in the exhibition because of the inspiring and familiar nature of his art. He said Van Gogh’s art has proven to be timeless, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“The interesting thing about Van Gogh is that the work still survives and is still interesting and still touches people 130 years after his death,” Ross said. “This message is hopeful and cathartic, to think that even when we go through difficult times, art transcends us and pushes us beyond that.”
Abramova said the exhibition was unique because Siccardi was not only inspired by Van Gogh’s art, but also by his life story.
“It’s a very human approach to the life of an artist who went unrecognized in his lifetime and then became a pop star within a century,” said Abramova. “Maybe our task now is to bring it more into the classical arena, to tell people that this is the life of a person – who lived in the 19th century – who wanted to be an artist, who was a great artist. “
The exhibition will not be the only Van Gogh art exhibit in Columbus this fall. The Columbus Museum of Art will present its Van Gogh exhibition, “Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and his Sources”, from November 12 to February 6, 2022, according to its website. Ross said he believes the two shows are complementary.
“This is not about replacing art galleries, there should be no reason in Columbus why you would go and see one and not the other,” Ross said. “This is a new tool and a new kind. I think it’s going to – in the future – bring together all kinds of things that we know today and allow artists some flexibility to do something completely different.
Ticket prices for the “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibition vary. More information on the exhibition website.