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Review of Van Gogh 360 show

Updated: Apr 30


Review of Van Gogh 360

Few artists of our circle had visited the Van Gogh 360 show in Pune. We requested them to write their experiences.


Artist Nilanjana Roy writes -


Have you ever stepped inside a painting? Yes? How does it feel? Surreal? Other-worldly? A little dizzying, maybe? 

 

l think thousands of people across  the world have had that experience by now as  the production house of Van Gogh 360° has converted the legendary post-impressionist artist Van Gogh's paintings into a partially animated show that is projected across all walls in huge pop-up enclosures. With the paintings moving across all the walls around you, across the floor, and also over you, it sure gives a feeling of having stepped into Van Gogh's paintings!

 

Interesting, right? Novel, for sure! And quite immersive too, if done well, the keyword here being "well."

 

I happened to have caught this show a few years ago in Dubai. When my cousin mentioned it, l wasn't sure what to expect. When we arrived at the venue, we walked through enormous panels projecting Van Gogh's paintings and stepped into a dark empty room. But when the show started, the paintings danced across the walls, the floor, the ceiling, and across us too. Apart from us, there were just a handful of people in the enclosure, sitting around on the floor, wrapped in blankets, engrossed. The idea of the show caught my fancy.  The paintings seemed to engulf us. I was transported into the golden wheatfields, on to the roadside cafe under the streetlights, and the swirling blue clouds running across a starlit sky. 

The immersive experience was complete.

 

Cut to 2024. The same show comes to Pune. I was at first hesitant to go visit again, apprehending the quality of the setup and a crowded room killing the possibility of getting lost in the strokes and blotches of color. And unfortunately, l was somewhat right.

 

While the day l chose to visit had barely a dozen people in the room, what made a stark difference is the attitude of the viewers here. More than actually enjoying the unique experience, people here were more keen on getting photographed with the paintings in the background while the show was on. What would they post on their insta handle otherwise?

 

As for the infrastructure of the production, while l was largely impressed by the setup, the all white projection room with all white beanbags and pouffes that ensured minimal distraction, l would have been far happier if the projection quality did better justice to the paintings! The images were at times so blurry and pixelated along the edges, that it marred the very beauty of the paintings! And to top it all, the uncovered ceiling was an eyesore! 

 

Well, leaving the nitpicking aside, l tried my best to focus on the show itself and take in all that l could. As the sunflowers swooped across the screen, and scores of Van Gogh portaits formed a collage, and then again scattered to give way to a shimmering blue coastline, l did for sure get lost in the Van Gogh world for a while. Especially the beautiful white almonds blossom against a bright blue sky is a sight you cannot but be charmed by! 

 

One of the main aspects of this show that l absolutely loved is the concept of it. The fact that in turning Gogh's paintings into a show for the public, as opposed to static traditional paintings put up on the wall, the production company has broken the biggest barrier between the world of artists and art lovers and that of 'the others'. Thanks to Van Gogh 360°, the legendary artist is now known to millions who would otherwise not have had any connection with art. But wouldn't it have been amazing to tell the world his story? A bit about his artistic style and maybe a lot about his difficult life and the stories behind his amazing works?  A story, l feel, would have done wonders and made the experience wholesome and l found it painfully lacking! Because without the narrative, it is but a dance of colors. It catered to insta stories, but not to curious minds.

 

Do not get me wrong! The experience is still great for first timers. It opens the doors to the world of art to the common public like no other! Perhaps l have been a little too harsh in my judgement because when it comes to art, we tend to be finicky. Also, because, for me, it was almost like sharing a bit of my world with the rest of the world, and l couldn't but hope for them to see the best version of it. I feel we should have tried harder and could have done more justice to Gogh.


Artist Saranya Ganguly writes -


It is perhaps fitting to write today, on his birth anniversary more than ever, about a world where the ethereal beauty of Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpieces transcend the canvas to envelop your senses in a symphony of light and sound. The immersive Van Gogh 360 Exhibit, recently showcased in Pune, is a testament to artistic innovation and a treat for art aficionados. As you enter the exhibition space, you are immediately transported into Van Gogh’s iconic paintings, each stroke pulsating with emotion and fervor.


The 360-degree projection technology seamlessly transforms the surroundings into a living gallery, where sunflowers bloom with vibrant intensity, starry nights twinkle with celestial allure, and wheat fields sway in gentle harmony. However, the quality of projection could be better. Some of the projections were out of focus and there was a discord in synchronization of the four walls. “I am sure there were genuine reasons not to cover the top, but the lighting arrangements on the top and the long pipe-like structures were a bit distracting. Besides, the doors of entry and exit were left open which were cutting out the projections. But with a legend like Van Gogh, the moment the paintings show up, even after so many years, one cannot not overlook the technical shortcomings and let loose to the overwhelming cloud of emotions of human conditions he presented. I loved the way they used the entire space. A captivating storytelling with iconic paintings gave enough time even for a layman to be ready for the upcoming experience. I feel the merchandising towards the exit was a nice addition. People were buying creative printed merchandises as memorabilia.


There was a wonderful mix of simplicity and grandeur of space that I particularly enjoyed. What sets this experience apart is not just the visual spectacle but also the accompanying soundtrack that adds another layer of depth and emotion to Van Gogh’s art.

The carefully curated music and soundscape resonate with the mood of each painting, creating a multisensory journey that enraptures the soul. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or a curious novice, the immersive Van Gogh 360 Exhibit offers a transformative experience that lingers long after you’ve left the gallery.


In a world where digital innovation often overshadows traditional art forms, this exhibition serves as a reminder of the enduring power of great art to inspire, uplift, and transcend boundaries. It’s a celebration of Van Gogh’s enduring legacy and a testament to the timeless relevance of his vision cradled in the world of immersive experiences allowing the spectrum of emotions hidden in the paintings to pass through each bewitched viewer.


One cannot help carrying the resonating lines Don McLean’s in heart: “Now, I understand what you tried to say to me and how you suffered for your sanity and how you tried to set them free. They would not listen; they did not know how perhaps they'll listen now.”



Artist Brinda Nilesh says-


I felt a little depressed to be honest, for such a mastermind to die with such mental condition without a cure. All the greens and yellows that he used prolifically in his art was a result of the drugs that were administered to him. This was hard to believe, because it looked so naturally put together.

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