Review: Van Gogh The Immersive Experience

Do you easily get bored when visiting a museum or is looking at paintings not exactly your favourite activity to do on a Sunday afternoon? Say no more! An interactive and fascinating exhibition about the 19th-century Dutch painter Van Gogh has been travelling all over the world and has currently set foot in Antwerp, Belgium. ‘The Immersive Experience’, as the exhibition is called, guides you through Vincent Van Gogh’s wonderful yet troubled life. More than 200 of his paintings are shown, accompanied by classical music and moving quotes from Van Gogh himself. One thing’s for sure: this astounding exhibition is nothing like the art museums you are used to.

Van Gogh: the man who cut off his ear, who painted numerous works that showed a still of sunflowers, and whose style continues to fascinate many people until this day. Yet there is a whole lot more to discover about the painter. Divided into three rooms, the exhibition tells the story of Van Gogh’s life. The first stop on the route is a timeline that highlights the most important moments of his 37 years on Earth. It intertwines to some extent with his brother’s life, Theo Van Gogh, who he deeply cared about and loved very dearly. Many quotes that can be read and heard during your visit are from letters the brothers sent each other when they were living apart. Though Vincent Van Gogh was born in the Netherlands, he lived in Belgium and later on in the south of France, where he eventually died in the summer of 1890. It is in France where he painted some of his most famous works, such as ‘Starry Night’ and ‘Bedroom in Arles’, but also where he felt blue and ended up in psychiatric hospitals. 

The highs and lows he went through are portrayed very well, especially in the second part of the exhibition where his paintings come to life, fly around your head, and glide under your feet. An impressive 360º experience with projections and music immediately captures your attention as you enter the room, showing you the life of Van Gogh in a unique and breathtaking way. It is often difficult to understand how someone really feels if you have not been through it yourself, but this 35-minute visual experience makes an excellent attempt to give at least a sense of the chaos in his head and the struggles he faced. “I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people” and “I dream of painting and then I paint my dream” are some of the quotes being shown during the spectacle that offer an insight into his stream of thoughts. 

At the end of your tour, you can hit the photo booth and take a picture in front of one of Van Gogh’s paintings – the perfect souvenir to take home! Lastly, there’s an opportunity to follow a day in his life through VR (virtual reality) glasses. It is the ultimate cherry on top of this already great exhibition. This VR-experience takes you around Arles, France, where he lived, showing some of his remarkable works along the way. You’ll feel like you’re in the south of France, taking a stroll through one of the most picturesque villages you’ve probably ever seen. 

All in all, ‘The Immersive Experience’ is a must-visit for everyone – even if you are not into art or Van Gogh’s style. And who knows, the future of art exposition may lay in exhibitions like this one, where music, visuals, and VR come together and immerse you into the life of an artist.

For more info on Van Gogh the immersive experience click here.

Written by: Ine Vanvuchelen

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