Virtual Van Gogh: A Review

‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’ is currently on show for the first time in the UK at St Mary’s Church in York. Situated in this historical building, this exhibition features over 200 works by Vincent van Gogh projected onto the floor and walls all animated in a magical 40 minute looped presentation.

‘Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.’ - Vincent van Gogh

As van Gogh once greated great art from a series of small dashes of colour brought together, today we can enter his art in a room filled with a series of pixels and light brought together.

Arriving guests are invited to relax in deck chairs positioned throughout the church’s main chamber. Without any extra lighting this unique display of van Gogh’s works captivates all but in particular the young children and mothers are sheltering from chaotic February winds. Famous paintings are brought to life just as the photographs within J K Rowling’s wizarding world are never stationery, and the evolution of works from sketches to canvas transition effortlessly.

The site of this show is significant as it reflects on van Gogh's earlier dreams of being in the clergy. The projections artfully dances across the architectural features of the church playing with the details of the space, using illusions to warp the shape of the ornate archways and columns.

The sense of sitting inside a painting is further enhanced by the secondary section of the exhibition where guests are invited to explore deeper into the life and inspiration of van Gogh through a VR headset. Not only does this bring the art of this man closer to today’s world with a 21st Century medium, but van Gogh’s life is brought to us too, the visitor host commented that about 1 in 5 people are moved to tears by the VR Experience.

While it has been argued that as technology advances traditional art forms face a demise, this exhibition breathes new life into old art. It is the embracing of new technology in this exhibition that has brought children into this space today, a new way to experience art has allowed for a relaxed atmosphere welcoming all.

Written by Nicole Fairey

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