“I would like to accompany you there to find out if we look at things the same way,” artist Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother in the fall of 1885.
Almost 140 years later, millions of people around the world, thousands of them from the Valley, can see the world as Van Gogh did.
Beyond Van Gogh, a traveling art exhibition honoring the Dutch post-impressionist, has extended its run to the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center until August 21.
The immersive experience, created by French-Canadian creative director Mathieu St-Arnaud and his team at the Normal Studio in Montreal, aims to place clients inside over 300 of the artist’s greatest works. Patrons will not see paintings like “The Starry Night”, “The Sunflowers” and “Café Terrace at Night” from the outside looking inside, but from the inside of the art itself.
“Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” takes on the challenge of breathing new life into Van Gogh’s vast body of work. Through the use of cutting-edge 3D projection technology and music to illuminate his genius, guests can experience the artist with all their senses, “St-Arnaud said in a statement.
The exhibition begins with screens explaining the artist’s life. Empty frames suspended in the air by invisible threads, a clue that Van Gogh found beauty in everything and found art everywhere.
Van Gogh, explains the exhibition, found beauty in simple things. A pair of boots, unused chairs, sunflowers, the faces of strangers and the Paris night sky are just some of the subjects that come to life during the experience, which lasts about an hour.
Utilizing 30,000 square feet and four trillion pixels of light, the experience projects the artist’s influential and powerful work all around, above and below clients. Van Gogh’s loose brushstrokes are recreated, swirling overhead and side to side as clients turn to keep up.
The birds, frozen in place for over a century on Van Gogh’s canvas, are once again free to fly. The portraits flash. Dutch windmills spin once again in the breeze, the tide rises after sunset. Visitors will find themselves on the beach, then in an orchard, then preparing potatoes in a darkened room.
The vastness of the prolific artist’s works comes to life in every color the artist can afford to paint with.
Van Gogh, a tragic figure, failed as an art dealer and then as a pastor before dedicating his life to painting to live as it was. He lived in poverty and faced a mental illness: he famously cut his ear after an argument with his brother and perhaps his most famous work, “The Starry Night”, was inspired by the view outside his window. in an asylum.
Van Gogh is believed to have only sold one painting during his lifetime. Seven months before his death, he sold “The Red Vineyard” for 400 francs. Believing himself a failure, he took his own life in 1890 at the age of 37.
Thanks to a posthumous critical reassessment, Van Gogh is now considered one of the most influential figures in art. His works, of which more than 2,000 were completed over the span of about a decade, now regularly sell for tens of millions of dollars.
Perhaps the most breathtaking moments of the experience, in their own way, are when the screens are cleaned by an invisible cloth or by what appears to be rain. We are left with a blank canvas, wondering “it’s over”, but hopeful for whatever beauty next time may be.
Perhaps in this way the exhibition successfully conveys the perspective of Van Gogh, an artist who has experienced the lowest of lows, but has also deeply seen the beauty of life.
Beyond Van Gogh will run until August 21 at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center Exhibit Hall 1, 2336 Kern St., Fresno. Tickets can be purchased on https://vangoghfresno.com.