Wonder, vertigo, yoga and more to expect at Beyond Van Gogh


Take a child to Beyond Van Gogh, but take a child who does not have motion sickness. If you have a friend who has a tendency to trip up but still adores Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh’s series of sunflower paintings, keep it handy.

Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive ExperienceIt’s a beautiful and culturally valuable exhibit, but it’s not without its stumbles.

Created by French-Canadian visual designer Mathieu St-Arnaud — and his Chicago-based Studio Normal — the exhibit uses inventive projection technology to smash van Gogh’s impressive yet still works from their frames and onto the walls of a wall. massive piece, surrounding the viewer.

While I’m not convinced of the educational elements of the series, I wholeheartedly respect its more Promethean aspects – repackaging works of art so that they can be amazed by fans, new and familiar.

The exhibit debuted in Miami in the spring of this year and has slowly traveled to most major cities. Presented in dark, curtain-covered corridors in a hall at the Oregon Convention Center, the show is split into three parts, all the way to the final experience hall where people will want to spend the most time and take the lead. more selfies.

But first: the danger.

Upon entering, visitors will find themselves in an information room: a dark room with illuminated stations, presenting a slight biographical overview of van Gogh’s career. They are essentially giant, bright text posters and much of the information they contain mixes the exhibition’s own aspirations with quotes from letters van Gogh wrote to his younger brother, Theo. Without these letters, we wouldn’t know much about van Gogh’s inner life. But the piece is more of a pumping mission than actually exploring the artist as a person. Quotes boil down to greeting card feelings, man letters boil down to inspirational phrases.

Audiences are expected to meander along a path between light-up screens and artfully placed empty picture frames hanging from the ceiling. It’s a well-designed space aesthetically, but it’s also very tempting to wander between the billboards, which have covered electrical cords running between them. You’ll want to take care of all your goofy friends.

Exiting the lobby you’ll find yourself in the second space, the Waterfall Room, where renderings of van Gogh’s whirlpools bleed from the ceiling, down the wall, and onto the floor. Multiple spotlights make it feel like you’re in a river of color, a taste of what to expect when you step into the final experience room.

The last room is the biggest and this is where people will want to spend most of their time. With the help of countless projectors, animations of van Gogh’s works parade on the walls and on two central pillars. The presentation is on a loop, but different areas of the room repeat themselves so you don’t have to walk all over that land to see it all. The images are interspersed with dips throughout the room of, say, floating petals in the style of van Gogh Almond blossoms, or the vortices of The starry Night, which swirl around the room and on the floor.

I’m not prone to vertigo, but this room had that effect on me. Portland’s media contact assured me that I was completely alone in my disorientation and that when the room is full of more people, the effect is canceled.

It is normal that part of the exhibition is rated by Max Richter’s Spring 3, a reimagining of Vivaldi Spring. Richter 2012 Recomposed sampled and rearranged every The four Seasons, by reintroducing masterpieces to audiences who watch films or series like The crown. This allowed a whole new generation to talk about Vivaldi.

A similar exchange is taking place at Beyond Van Gogh. While only a third of the paintings are rendered in enough detail to be able to see the brush. And the transitions of images that appear to be caressed on the walls by ghostly brushes are too stereotypical – too much like a starry wipe – to actually take inspiration from van Gogh’s impasto style. Remain his compositions, his work of color. There is a lot to learn and even more to be curious or inspired.

St-Arnaud (who designed video sets for Justin Timberlake, the Killers and Linkin Park) deserves praise for transmuting the works into such captivating displays. People will fall in love in this room. Legions of selfies will be born.

It’s also worth noting that the exhibit will soon feature 50-minute yoga sessions inside the Experience Room, starting December 2. Each class will be taught by one of three local studios: Firelight Yoga, Yoga Refuge or Now Yoga. Although the cost for each session is $ 56.99 inducing a corpse pose, the studios all donate their share of the classes to nonprofit organizations: Holla Mentors, Rose Haven, and Raphael House.

GO: Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., vangoghportland.com. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, until January 9. $ 36.99 to $ 93.99

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