Immerse Yourself in Van Gogh’s Art

Sit back with a Van Gogh cocktail and let the fun begin

Forget traditions of tiptoeing through unnervingly silent galleries and viewing paintings from afar

– the introduction to Van Gogh Alive.

This exhibition at the Royal Hall of Industries at the Entertainment Quarter in Sydney’s Moore Park takes these uncertainties out of the picture by taking the audience through a “large-scale, multisensory experience” in 45 minutes.

Splashed across the equivalent of 30 IMAX screens up to seven metres high and accompanied by a soundtrack of popular classical music, ranging from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to the Harry Potter soundtrack, Van Gogh Alive tells the story of the Dutch master’s life using images of 2000 sketches, drawings and paintings.

Each chapter has a short text introduction similar to what one would encounter in each room of a traditional exhibition, but here the similarities largely end, as the images appear in quick succession, juxtaposed with other atmospheric footage like crashing waves and fields of sunflowers.

Van Gogh’s iconic paintings are animated to include a moving view of the Paris skyline, falling cherry blossom petals and crows ominously taking flight from a field at the sound of a gunshot.

The images used apparently constitute the largest collection of van Gogh’s work ever presented, and Van Gogh Alive represents a breadth rather than a depth of experience – like leafing through a book on the artist.

There are so many fascinating elements to Van Gogh’s life story and Van Gogh Alive barely scratches the surface of all of them.

Being able to look at large scale at the artist’s Bedroom in Arles paintings side by side is fascinating, for example, but, in a heartbeat, the images have moved on.

The project is the brainchild of Bruce Peterson, the chief executive of Grande Exhibitions, who conceived of this mode of exhibition-making after observing his young children’s lack of interest in the museums of Europe.

The introduction of music, moving image, multimedia and multisensory elements is certainly more likely to engage children, but it is also clearly a response to the changing attention span of the 21st-century viewer.

While many contemporary artists already use these new technologies in their works, Van Gogh Alive invites viewers to explore historically significant works in a new way – even if nothing can replace the experience of sitting in front of these paintings, quietly.

Don’t just admire Van Gogh’s paintings – immerse yourself in them in the most visited multi-sensory experience in the world.

Van Gogh Alive is presented at the Royal Hall of Industries. The Royal Hall of Industries is situated within the Moore Park Precinct, next to the Entertainment Quarter/Fox Studios and the Hordern Pavilion.
Open 9am – 10pm from Saturday 26th September until Sunday 11th October.

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