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As Van Gogh Alive comes to Canberra make no mistake—this is no ordinary art exhibition.
Forget tiptoeing through silent galleries to look at the iconic work of Vincent Van Gogh. From Saturday 5 March 2022 you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the life and works of the Post-Impressionist painter thanks to the spectacular multi-sensory experience.
Using a vibrant symphony of lights, colour, sound and fragrance, Grande Experiences has wowed over 8 million people across 75+ cities around the world, from New York to Rome and finally Canberra.
Van Gogh’s works have been displayed and enjoyed around the world for over a century—but never like this. In partnership with the National Capital Authority and taking place in the National Triangle, Van Gogh Alive will open its Canberra season during the 2022 Enlighten Festival.
Andrew Kay, co-producer and owner of the Australian tour rights says that the Australia tour brings a unique twist to the exhibition as the digital spectacular is housed in a giant bespoke marquee known as the Grand Pavilion.
“Van Gogh Alive around the world goes either into a fine arts museum or a building that’s been found which fits the gallery,” he explains.
“What we did was we started from scratch, designed, created and engineered our own purpose-built building and had it manufactured in Germany…it’s the world’s largest transportable exhibition hall.”
Upon arrival at the Grand Pavilion, exhibition goers will learn about the life and works of Vincent Van Gogh before entering the SENSORY4™ Gallery, where they can walk right into their favourite paintings, including Van Gogh’s magnum opus, Starry Night.
With a display of more than 3,000 artworks throughout the exhibition, the unique experience combines multi-channel motion graphics with cinema-quality surround sound so art lovers can saturate themselves in the paintings from new angles and perspectives. There is also a subtle scent winding through the gallery to help bring it to life.
A titan of the live performance industry, Andrew has produced and toured numerous shows. While this is the first immersive visual arts exhibition he has co-produced, he says the magic of story still plays an important role.
“The beauty about Van Gogh Alive is it tells the narrative of his life through his art,” says Andrew.
“You actually see a complete narrative arc that runs through an emotional journey, because this was a guy who painted over 4,000 paintings in his life…he painted half of his artworks in the last two years of his life. He died at 37 and he never sold a painting.”
“So this is a tragic story but a story of redemption and great success but the success occurred after he died.”
Along with the immersive experience, there are plenty of Instagram-worthy elements to the exhibition, including a walk-through of a life-sized representation of Van Gogh’s Bedroom and an infinity room filled to the brim with 30,000 sunflowers.
Bruce Peterson, Founder and CEO of Grande Experiences, says the aim of the exhibition is to transcend the normal gallery experience.
“Art galleries and museums can be quite intimidating places, but it’s 2021, so it’s no longer about standing in front of a painting and staring at it quietly from afar,” he explains.
“Using technology cleverly means that it’s now possible to experience art in a more inclusive way that offers a much deeper, more immersive, multi-sensory experience that draws you into the art.”
Along with the gallery itself, mastery can be found on a plate at a recreation of Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night with ever-changing French patisserie offerings and weekly specials made on site along with a decadent drinks menu. There will also be Van Gogh-themed gifts so the memory of the exhibition can be taken with you everywhere.
As Van Gogh Alive gets ready to launch, make sure to sign up to the mailing list to book the first round of tickets and get ready to fuse life and art with a single step.
What: Van Gogh Alive
When: Seven days a week from 5 March 2022
Where: Parkes Place Lawns, National Triangle
Details: Please note that Van Gogh Alive opens during the 2022 Enlighten Festival, but continues on in that space after the festival concludes.