Beyond Van Gogh

Starry Night

It was a chilly, drizzly morning today, when we lined up outside the football field sized white tent that was parked on the Galleria’s south lot. As we lined up outside the entrance, I noticed a sign pointing to a row of port-a-potties that read, “Go Before Gogh”. We had tickets for the first hours’ timeslot of the immersive art show called Beyond van Gogh. Beyond is one of about half-a-dozen competing productions featuring an immersive experience of the 19th-century one-eared Dutch painter. Some of these exhibits are purported to have an actual van Gogh or two in it, ours didn’t. These shows have been touring the states for about ten years now and then before that earlier still in Europe. Our show comprised three rooms, plus a gift shop. The first was the “reading room”, where rows of text were displayed to introduce the artist and his work. I soon skipped most of this room. The second room was a smaller immersive room, where patrons could get used to the sometimes vertigo inducing feel of this immersive experience. I skipped this room too and headed straight to the main event. As I had planned, I got there before many people were yet in the room. Images were projected on the walls and floor of this room. Two large pillars in the middle of the room served as additional projection space and as a base for the room’s projectors. His most famous works, like Starry Night, were featured in their own individual segment of the thirty-minute-long program that was on continuous loop. Other works, like portraits, self-portraits and flowers were shown grouped together. Animation was frequently added to each segment to enhance the experience. Tickets were expensive, but we enjoyed the show.

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