7 December 2021

Van Gogh's paintings brought to life in 'immersive' art experience for Enlighten Festival 2022

| James Coleman
Van Gogh's bedroom

Take a seat in Van Gogh’s bedroom. Photo: Rebecca McMillan, Grande Experiences.

If you were one of the 200,000 people who flocked to Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London, here’s your chance to take your Van Gogh experience to the next level.

International touring art experience, Van Gogh Alive is visiting Canberra during the Enlighten Festival in March 2022. Organisers advise viewers to “dispel all notions of tiptoeing through silent art galleries to view masterpieces from afar”.

It’s not an art exhibition in the traditional sense. In fact, there’s no original artwork to be found anywhere.

Instead, developed by Grande Experiences and using advanced technology from SENSORY4, Van Gogh Alive takes more than 3,000 of the famous Dutch artist’s artworks and combines them with motion graphics, surround sound, and up to 40 high-definition projectors to create an “immersive multimedia art experience”.

His paintings will fill giant screens, walls, columns, ceilings and even the floor. Visitors can walk through a field of sunflowers, take a seat in his reconstructed bedroom or at The Cafe Terrace Arles. Music by classical composers will add the finishing touch to the experience.


The ‘Grand Pavilion’ will be set up on the Parkes Place lawns for the Enlight Festival. Photo: Grande Experiences.

There will also be a cafe on-site where the graphics will make it seem like you’re eating and drinking inside Van Gogh’s painting of Café Terrace at Night.

It is all housed in a purpose-built marquee-type structure, called the ‘Grand Pavilion’, the world’s biggest transportable exhibition building measuring 75 metres long, 25 metres wide and 12 metres high. This will take its place on the Parkes Place lawns in the National Triangle from Saturday, 5 March to Sunday, 27 March next year.

Founder and CEO of Grande Experiences Bruce Peterson said art should look different in 2022.

“It’s no longer about standing in front of a painting and staring at it quietly from afar. Using technology cleverly means that it’s now possible to experience art in a more inclusive way that offers a much deeper, more immersive, multi-sensory experience that draws you in,” Bruce said.

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Van Gogh Alive has already attracted more than 8.5 million visitors in more than 70 cities across the world, including Beijing, Berlin, Denver, London, Madrid, Moscow and Sydney. It is currently on display in nine cities across the globe, including Brisbane.

Vincent Willem Van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853 in Zundert, a small town in a largely agricultural region in the south of the Netherlands.

After leaving school in 1869 at the age of 16, Vincent entered the workforce at his uncle’s art dealership. Surrounded by art and particularly spurred on by seeing the amount of money original artworks could sell for, he began exploring his own tastes with bold colours and dramatic brushwork that helped lay the foundation for modern art.


The cafe will see you seated inside a painting. Photo: Grande Experiences.

In 10 years, he produced more than 2,000 works of art, consisting of around 930 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches. Despite this great volume of work, The Red Vineyard is the only piece he ever sold during his lifetime, and that for 400 francs, the equivalent of US $1,900 today.

He struggled with severe depression, psychotic episodes and poverty throughout his life before he died at 37.

Now, 131 years after his death, his art sells for millions of dollars at auctions and private sales around the world.

It is generally considered that Van Gogh’s greatest works were created from 1880 when he had fully committed himself to art. In this 10 year period to his death in 1890, Van Gogh created his most well-known works, including Two Cut Sunflowers, Self-portrait with Straw Hat, Sunflowers, and Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles.

All of these and more will be brought to life in vivid detail at Van Gogh Alive. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketek.

Original Article published by James Coleman on Riotact.

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