I am not an aesthete, not even close to it but I am not stupid to not know van Gogh and the other key players in the world of art. I have had a bit of an inkling towards van Gogh for as long as I can remember though but it’s not because of his talent but of his story. I mean when you’re a kid and you learned that the Don McLean song “Starry Starry Night” was inspired by an artist who chopped his ear off, that will certainly make a big impact on you right? Starry Night of course became the first van Gogh artwork I have known. It was inevitable.
I’ve also recently just watched At Eternity’s Gate on Netflix which showed van Gogh’s final years in Arles, France which is where this immersive experience started. There’s a huge screen which walks you through van Gogh’s final thoughts and memories. You are given an audio guide which detects where you are in the gallery and automatically plays to explain what you’re looking at or what you’re experiencing.
Note: Some of the videos triggered my vertigo so that’s a warning for you if you do get it as often as I do.
It was divided into different years of van Gogh’s life and you are then shown the most important bits of his life during that time. Some people have said that it isn’t very interactive but I went there with no expectations whatsoever and what I saw and experienced was something very different from a normal museum visit.
There are areas where you can try your hand at sketching using van Gogh’s technique of using a grid, it gives you a sense of perspective of what you’re sketching. Surprisingly, I remember my brother using a grid of some sort in his sketches when I was a kid. I didn’t know my brother’s a genius for using van Gogh’s technique. :p
There’s also an area where you can try your hand at drawing a self-portrait using van Gogh’s color palette. I was impressed to see kids having a go at it but this man right here is doing the best work I think.
Some areas show the magnified version of van Gogh’s work, the intricate and individual strokes of his art is quite enigmatic to see. You’re seeing the tiny strokes up close which created beautiful masterpieces that are now worth millions. If only I had a bit of artistic talent in me, I might have started painting after my visit here.
I do have to agree that the most immersive experience out of this was the replica of van Gogh’s painting “Bedroom in Arles” where people were having their photos taken of course, including myself. :p
There was also a shadow play of Gaugin and van Gogh’s tumultous friendship which I already saw from the movie At Eternity’s Gate. I do think that if I didn’t see the movie beforehand, I would have felt a bit lost during the shadow play.
The next few areas were mostly the audio guide at work and some documentary-style movies that you can watch from a TV screen so close to where you’re sitting that it gave me vertigo once again. Lol. I’m a weirdo I know.
I enjoyed the Meet Vincent van Gogh experience immensely, I admit that I’m not much into art which may or may not give justice as to how I felt about it. It’s only in London until 21 May 2020 so if you’re around, why not drop by and let me know what you think. Tickets are priced at GBP18.00 per person and you might have to allot at least 2 hours for this visit. For more information, visit their website