If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you were in a Vincent Van Gogh painting, you have a chance coming up. “Imagine Van Gogh: The Immersive Exhibition” will be at the Tacoma Armory starting in December and will run through January 2022. Tickets are now on sale.
The exhibit projects artwork onto the surfaces around you, and allows you to see the details of the paintings and learn more about the famous 19th-century Dutch artist.
The exhibit focuses on Van Gogh’s work from the last two years of his life, including “The Starry Night” and “Bedroom in Arles.” Co-creator Annabelle Mauger also worked with art historian Androula Michael to create a pedagogical room to help visitors understand who Van Gogh was and the work he’s done.
Mauger, who first worked on an immersive Van Gogh exhibit in 2008 at Cathédrale d’Images in south France, said the event is a new way for people to visit art exhibitions and capture the attention of the younger generation.
“In France, the [younger] generation, most of the time, doesn’t want to go to a museum,” she said.
In a typical art museum, Mauger explained, visitors have to be quiet, careful about what they touch and, perhaps most important to this generation, can’t always take pictures.
At this immersive experience, visitors don’t have to participate strictly and there will be music playing throughout the show.
“Imagine Van Gogh” is not the only immersive exhibit highlighting the artist’s work that has come through cities around the world. There are currently at least five, including “Imagine Van Gogh,” happening or planned around North America and Europe.
One of them, “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience,” is coming to Seattle in September. It premiered in Italy in 2017 and is advertised as a 360-degree, large-scale digital art installation offering visitors an immersive experience highlighting the work of Van Gogh. Tickets are on sale, but the location will not be revealed until about a month before the exhibit starts.
The Better Business Bureau issued a warning on March 10 about the exhibit due to confusion over the event. Ticket buyers complained they mistook it for a different one and were unable to receive refunds.
Mauger compared all the similar shows popping up to restaurants. There are different restaurants that serve the same kind of cuisine, but some are better than others.
“All those exhibitions are proving that this immersive art is something important,” Mauger said. But, she noted, some are doing such things as adding animation and are guided by technology, not art history.
“From Leonardo da Vinci, we understood that a painting is a kind of photography,” Mauger said. “If you are [adding] some movement, you destroy what the painter wanted to do.”
Mauger hopes the Tacoma exhibit will be a learning experience. “Whatever your age, whatever your culture, whatever your language, it is fantastic to think that you will understand something.”