HomeLifestyleArtImmerse yourself in the art of Vincent Van Gogh

Immerse yourself in the art of Vincent Van Gogh

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It’s taken the country by storm, and it’s now in Augusta

Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience will be at the James Brown Arena starting May 24.

When they hear the name “Van Gogh,” people often think of two things — the painting “Starry Night” and the fact that the artist cut his own ear off, according to Fanny Curtat, an art historian who worked on the project. But there’s so much more to the prolific artist than his struggles with the darkness in his life.

“He wanted to help; he wanted to be useful. He wanted to share his faith,” said Curtat.

The Dutch-born artist was only 37 when he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but in his lifetime, he produced more than 2,100 pieces of art including about 900 paintings.

The Van Gogh experience features about 300 of those paintings but brings them to an audience in a 21st century way.

When patrons first enter, they head into the education room — a more museum-like space with a narrative about Van Gogh’s life. From there, they head through the “waterfall room,” a portal which starts the multi-sensory presentation. The animation floods from the screens and onto the floor, and Curtat said the process can be a little “trippy” hence the transition from the staid education space to the immersion room, where the artist’s works come to life.

The paintings highlight different parts of his artistic journey. They are tied together with snippets from the letters he wrote to his brother, Theo.

Some are held together according to theme. His vibrant flowers are together as well as his portraits and then his self-portraits, and no it’s not your imagination if you thought you saw him blink. He really did. That’s the magic of the animation.

Beyond Van Gogh will be at the James Brown Arena through June 26. Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

Between the scenes, the transitions are marked with brush strokes. Often the colors spill onto the floor, giving visitors the sense of being part of the paintings.

Only one of his drawings is featured. It’s a city-scene.

Curtat said the drawing shows Van Gogh’s attention to texture and detail even in the sky which isn’t just a blue.

At one point, a color palette forms on the floor reflecting the color swatches the artist used.

“He didn’t use one color white; he used 10; he didn’t use just one blue, he used 15,” she said.

Adding to the ambience is a soundtrack — not of music contemporary to Van Gogh, but a more modern one to help those attending have a modern connection with art history.

Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience has sold more than three million tickets since it first opened about a year ago.

Beyond Van Gogh: An Immersive Experience will be held through June 26 at the James Brown Arena. Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

Curtat said work on the project began in late 2020 and only took six months to complete. It was designed to be something people could do during the pandemic with large open spaces that facilitated social distancing.

And she said it is a concept that could be used to connect audiences with other painters. Indeed, there is another immersive experience dedicated to the works of Claude Monet.

Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience will be at the James Brown Arena through June 26. The event will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Tickets start at $36.99 for adults and $21.99 for children between the ages of 5 and 15. Tickets are available at vangoghaugusta.com.

The exhibition is produced by Paquin Entertainment Group.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the managing editor of The Augusta Press. Reach her at [email protected] 

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