Post-Impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh produced more than 2,000 paintings and sketches in his lifetime. His incredible works are known to many, and seeing an original Van Gogh at a museum can be awe-inspiring. But this is 2022, and the way people experience art is evolving.
Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is a sensory display produced by Paquin Entertainment Group that has sold more than three million tickets worldwide. The traveling exhibition has spent several weeks in McAllen at the McAllen Convention Center.
Created by French-Canadian creative director Mathieu St-Arnaud, the exhibition is truly an immersive experience as you’re taken through a 3D sensory experience that brings more than 300 of the artist’s works to life. Guests are literally engulfed by the art and get to see popular works like “The Starry Night,” “Sunflowers,” and “Cafe Terrace at Night” from a different lens.
“As you enter the different rooms, you enter the introduction room and this is your opportunity to connect with Vincent,” said Art History Consultant Fanny Curtat, Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. “He found the remedies for the darkness in his life by painting. This exhibit is about spreading joy. It’s about community.
“It’s about enjoying the simple things around us. It’s a celebration of life — that’s what this show is really focused on.”
The exhibition is broken up into separate large rooms in a 30,000-square-foot space within the McAllen Convention Center. Guests are introduced to Van Gogh in the first room and then taken into “The Waterfall Room,” where the first hints of an unconventional art experience awaited. This experience prepared the mind for something truly unique as Van Gogh’s art was projected all around. The art swirls and moves to the musical selection that fills the space.
“Van Gogh has moved through time, and the different styles of music selected for the exhibition are all relevant to his work,” Curtat said. “The idea was to bring different styles to enhance his art. This project seeks to really connect the 21st-century audience with the 19th-century artist, and the music helps do that.”
This exhibition and its creators have made Van Gogh accessible in a space that has brought art beyond the limitations of a museum and made it accessible to people from all walks of life. The exhibit has already been seen by four million people across the world and has toured 40 cities. This different way of experiencing Van Gogh allows guests more freedom to walk through the art, literally.
The team of artists carefully selected Van Gogh’s art and created an experience that showed the artist’s evolution, taking guests through the much darker works from when he lived in the Netherlands, to his time in Paris, where his work became much brighter. That arc is felt in the show as the guest is taken from one room to the next and experiences the art connecting to the colors and the music.
“It’s a different way to experience art,” Curtat said. “For a lot of people, this space gives them the freedom to be themselves with the art and explore.”
Where: McAllen Convention Center
When: Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience runs through Jan. 12, 2023