Celebrate one of history’s greatest artists with this light and sound spectacular.

Most of us are hungry for culture after a year spent on the sofa. Let us give thanks, then, for the new immersive Van Gogh exhibition that is exploding into cities across the globe. From Antwerp to Tel Aviv, Naples to New York and Las Vegas to London, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience may be about to change the way we view art.

This 360-degree digital exhibition includes digital displays, sound effects, incredible video projection and an original musical score. Covering 20,000 square feet and all of van Gogh’s most compelling works, the family-friendly show takes around an hour to an hour-and-a-half to complete.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience opens in London in October; tickets are on sale now and going fast.

Writing in The New York Times, Christina Morales, described the experience thus: ‘Socially distanced guests wearing masks walk through rooms hearing a score set to van Gogh’s work. The projections move, the images shift from dark to light, the colours explode. The scale, the images and the effect of being inside van Gogh’s work have led some visitors to cry.’

If you feel you’ve heard of immersive exhibitions of van Gogh’s work before that is because you have. Such events have been popular across the globe for a while now (albeit hampered by the pandemic). Indeed, London is hosting a second one this year in Kensington Gardens, Van Gogh Live

We know that, even though he didn’t sell many paintings in his lifetime, van Gogh has posthumously been among the most famous and influential artists of all time. Two works by the tragic genius are coming up for auction – one at Sotheby’s and one at Christies – in the next few months. But why is he so well suited to these immersive digital exhibitions?

According to Morales: ‘Experts say van Gogh’s popularity arises from the fact that his images of people, landscapes and still lives are so accessible, but still glow with innovative and bold colours. The back-story of his life, including a struggle with mental-health issues, resonates with many as well.’

Not all of the immersive van Gogh experiences have gone down well. Reviewing the Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience on the South Bank last year, Jonathan Jones wrote in the The Guardian: ‘This show has the laid-back feel of a spiegeltent serving slightly flat beer… Vincent’s exuberant presence is lacking throughout this low-key son et lumière.’

If some visitors are moved to tears, others will wonder why we can’t just gaze at van Gogh’s paintings on a good old-fashioned wall in a traditional museum or art gallery. But let’s not knock it before we’ve tried it. Above all, let’s get off the sofa and into some culture.

Other Exciting Exhibitions Coming Up In London This Summer

Beano The Art Of Breaking Rules, Somerset House

Celebrating the beloved British comic that never seems to go out of fashion, this show plunders original artwork and amazing artefacts from Beano’s awesome archive.

Alice: Curiouser And Curiouser, V&A

Another immersive experience, this exhibition takes us on a journey from the original Alice in Wonderland manuscript via the story’s various iterations to the cultural phenomenon it is today.

David Hockney: The Arrival Of Spring, Normandy 2020, Royal Academy

Hockney captured the emergence of spring on his iPad as the pandemic engulfed us last year – the result is these 116 enchanting images.

The Making Of Rodin, Tate Modern

Featuring over 200 pieces, this show is the first to focus on the importance of plaster in Rodin’s genre-busting sculpture.

Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty, Barbican

This comprehensive retrospective is the first major exhibition of the French post-war artist’s work in London for 50 years.

By Becky Ladenburg
April 2021

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.