A review of the ‘Imagine Van Gogh’ exhibition
By Nhi ‘Jenny’ Vo, Production Assistant
What’s the point of staring at different still rectangular pieces painted by dead people?
I’ve always thought that going to an art museum is a boring activity. I’ve been to the Lourve, which is apparently one of the best museums out there, but still, the visit didn’t change my mind. What’s the point of staring at different still rectangular pieces painted by dead people? Unless you’re on a guided tour, museums are nearly dead quiet. Unless you’re a billionaire who can afford to knock over a piece of art or two, you have to watch every single step you take. Unless you’re 10 feet tall, you can’t see the paintings that clearly over the people in the front trying to snap an Instagram story. Despite my lack of interest in paintings, my impulsive spending decided to get a ticket to see a Van Gogh exhibition out of the blue. And I can confidently tell you that the experience has flipped my negative opinion on museums upside down.
Imagine Van Gogh showcases 200 paintings from the last two years of Vincent Van Gogh’s life (from 1888 to 1890). Unlike the traditional exhibitions, this one has the added modern twist of using 21st century technology. The paintings are displayed on 20 giant screens by more than 50 HD video projectors. To enhance the experience, the creators added classical music to connect the viewer and the paintings. When you wander around the immersive space and enjoy the pieces from a new perspective—with the extra spice of Bach, Mozart, and other great composers—you feel like you are living in the late 1800s.
Before entering the main room, there is an educational gallery that provides you with some interesting information about the technology used, the exhibition creators, and the artist’s life in chronological order. Then, you move onto the next room and engage yourself in Vincent’s point of view on the South of France. The projection is a 25-minute loop. Different paintings and details are projected on different screens. Some screens show the zoomed-in version while others show the whole painting. From still lifes, to landscapes, and portraits; any Van Gogh paintings you can think of will be there. I stayed through a few loops to catch up on most paintings, document my favourites, move around and see them from another angle. I was so impressed by Vincent’s colour palette and brush strokes that I had to grab a small poster and a bookmark at the gift shop on my way out.
As the you-know-what is happening around the world, the tickets are limited to ensure they are following the restrictions. I had to book mine a month in advance. Even though the ticket is timed-entry, you can enter 15 minutes early. Also, your time is not restricted to an hour so you can stay as long as you like. I went there at 1 pm on a Wednesday so it was not crowded, and everyone was spacing out safely. However, at about 2:30 pm, it started to get more jammed with people doing weird stuff. More kids were running around, more people were trying to french through their masks, and a couple was doing their pregnancy photoshoot. Then, I decided that I’ve had enough of my annual dose of arts and left.
In my opinion, it was a fun experience and totally worth taking a day off of work for. That being said, the tickets are a bit pricey ($39.99 for an adult and $34.99 for a child above four) so only go when you see the value in attending. If you decide to see Vincent’s artwork, make sure to book your tickets online (choose an unpopular time slot), follow all COVID-19 restrictions, and have a whale of a time at the exhibition, which is open until August 30, 2021.