Imagine Van Gogh arrives in Vancouver this spring

The immersive experience will allow for viewers to wander through the works of the artist

The Imagine Van Gogh immersive experience allows the audience to wander through the work of the famous painter. (Submitted/ Laurence Labat)

Art is highly emotional. An artist often uses mediums to express the complexity of the human condition in a way that words sometimes fall short. There are few who better encapsulates this than the extremely renowned post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh.

Imagine Van Gogh: The Immersive Exhibition directors Julien Baron and Annabelle Mauger have curated an extensive sample of his work, including over 200 paintings made by Van Gogh between 1888 and 1890. Baron and Mauger have collaborated on other immersive shows at Cathédrale d’images in Les Baux-de-Provence based on the “Image Totale” concept created by Albert Plécy.

The exhibit was made for everyone from art lovers to individuals who are just discovering a love of paintings. So if someone doesn’t know too much about good ‘ol Vincent, don’t fret. At the start of the experience, viewers will be given some context to better understand the artist.

“We try as much as possible within the hour to just let the emotion talk,” says Baron. “So we need to give the audience some keys before entering to better understand what the artist was, why he painted this way… his historical background … once they’re in there, we just try to work on the emotion that the paintings can convey.”

The experience of visiting this exhibit differs from a traditional gallery because it uses projections on multiple panels to immerse the viewer in the painting, and allows the pieces to communicate with one another.

Expanding the art pieces also highlights some of the details that may not be as visible under ordinary circumstances, whether that’s due to the venue’s lighting, or crowds of people blocking the pieces and preventing them from being admired.

“We are trying to do things differently from traditional museums,” says Baron. “We are not trying to replace them, but we want to make the readings of the picture different so everyone can enjoy and discover new things.”

Imagine Van Gogh will be shown at the Vancouver Convention Centre from March 19 to May 9, following it’s showing at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg. The new venue comes with new challenges, especially considering the highly advanced multi-projector approach taken by Baron and Mauger.

“The set, the way we organize a room, it is different almost any time we do an exhibition, mainly because of the venue,” says Baron. “We have to adapt each time.”

There will also be beautiful compositions by Bach, Satie, and Mozart. The music is meant to enhance the emotional landscape as well as engulf participants in the atmosphere.

Unfortunately, in order to remain safe amidst COVID-19 and due to the high demand, tickets are sold out, but they are hoping to have more made available soon. If people are interested, they can sign up on their website to be notified when more tickets are made available.

Tags: culture, art, music, vancouver