When it was announced that Van Gogh Alive: The Experience, a “multi-sensory” exhibit featuring the works of famed painter Vincent Van Gogh, would be making its way to the Philippines, it was met with both excitement and controversy–sparking a debate (mostly over Twitter) over which members of the Philippine art community raised issues about gatekeeping, using art for social media content, and ultimately how art should be consumed.
Stirring up mixed opinions and marking a divide among “art-lovers” and everybody else, the Philippine installment of Van Gogh Alive at One Bonifacio High Street Mall in Taguig City already made quite a splash before being opened to the public. Certainly, with all the buzz, and at Php 750 per person, the question from the beginning was–is the experience worth it?
Being fully immersed
The exhibit–nay, experience–is presented through SENSORY4, which makes use of high-definition projectors to mount motion graphics, in combination with surround sound. Essentially, the idea is to let onlookers experience Van Gogh’s work in a completely new and immersive way. The Van Gogh Alive project aims to stray from the more traditional way of consuming art in galleries and to let the visitors get a deeper, more intimate connection to the art and the artist.
Traveling through his timeline
Upon arriving, guests will be welcomed to an antechamber that serves as an introduction of sorts, detailing who the artist was and what the project is. It’s extra helpful for attendees who have not been exposed much to Van Gogh’s work–they’ll be in for way beyond the Starry Night.
You’ll encounter an interactive exhibit of Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles, a tiny space meant to simulate his room and painted based on his memory. The exhibit welcomes you to explore Van Gogh’s small space during confinement at the asylum in Saint-Remy.
On the screens, apart from the master painter’s classic works, you also get glimpses into Van Gogh’s past, letting you in, to some extent, on what was going on in his mind as well as during those times. Beginning in the Netherlands, the painter’s hometown, the exhibit then features Paris, Arles, Saint-Remy, and Auvers-sur-Oise.
With insight into his timeline, you’ll go through a journey of Van Gogh as an icon, but also see him as a simple man strewn with both brilliant and dark moments across his life.
Walking among masterpieces
Van Gogh’s signature vibrancy in his works makes for a dramatic contrast with the events which unfolded in his life. Walking through the legendary works, as well as lesser-known ones as well as the artist’s self-portraits, it will be hard not to note the pop of colors and richness of texture in his paintings. They are more so poignant splashed across large screens that surround the venue.
Significantly contributing to the mood are the classical scores which can be heard through the surround-sound system. These provide striking accompaniment to the works of Van Gogh as well as the event in his life.
Share in the experience
Whether you’re a true-blue fan of the painter or simply want to join in on the experience doesn’t matter. Ultimately, the buzz surrounding Van Gogh Alive reinforces its goal–to deconstruct the typical art-viewing experience of walking through posh and intimidating galleries and to bring otherwise inaccessible art to the people.
You can still catch the exhibit on the 4th Floor, One Bonifacio High Street, where it will run until December 8. When you’re there, do remember to take some time away from capturing the artworks with your phone and just sit still. Van Gogh Alive is a multi-sensory experience in more ways than one–and just like Globe Platinum, it gives customers personalized offers that can turn everyday mundane into a one-of-a-kind experience. To know more about the plans or bundles perfect for your digital lifestyle, visit: https://www.globe.com.ph/platinum.html