Van Gogh 360 by Festival House Inc
A dynamic and immersive multimedia exhibition
Artists often don’t get to enjoy acclaim in their own lifetimes. If Vincent Van Gogh was a contemporary artist, would he have seen people spending a pretty penny for a viewing of his paintings? And yet, we’re more than eager to pay up and queue up to experience Van Gogh 360°, the immersive multimedia expression of his art that’s on at Gurugram’s DLF CyberCity until 31 May. This experience will then travel to Bengaluru (June), Pune (September), and Hyderabad (October), before moving on to Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Goa, Indore, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Nagpur, and Surat sometime later.
We enter to find a vibrant section backlit screens introducing Van Gogh’s life, which helps set the context for what we witness in the next hall. Of the 2,100 pieces of art completed by the 19th-century Dutch painter from age 27—when he decided to become an artist—till his tragic demise 10 years later, Van Gogh 360° displays 300 of his greatest works from various collections across the world. The medium? Illuminated projections on floors and walls that run in a loop, set to beautiful music.
His creative genius, perhaps fuelled by his bipolar disorder, is palpable, and it’s an eye-opening realization that his famous The Starry Night and many portraits may in fact owe their characteristic coronas and greenish-yellow tinges to the digitalis drug that was used to treat him. The large space and state-of-the-art technology allow us to be surrounded by the brilliance of his brushstrokes, as one stands, sits, or even lies on the floor to absorb it all, marvelling at an animated The Potato Eaters here, or a bewitching, magnified detail of Almond Blossoms, there. The entire experience, with shadowy silhouettes of other viewers juxtaposed against Van Gogh’s flamboyant palette, arouses a dreamlike detachment—an apt foil for his artistic brilliance and troubled state of mind.
Far from the rarefied feel of a gallery, this is art cleverly packaged for today’s tech-savvy trendoids—beautiful, bite-sized and just right for sharing on one’s ‘socials’. And who is to say that is any less valuable? Timeless art made accessible to the masses is an image that endures.