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Van Gogh 360° showcase: immerse yourself in the icon’s life and art

YS Life visited the Van Gogh 360° showcase being held in Gurugram’s upscale Cyber City to know if the hype is real.

Van Gogh 360° showcase: immerse yourself in the icon’s life and art

Friday April 21, 2023,

5 min Read

The Starry Night, an oil-on-canvas magnum opus by post-impressionist Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, is perhaps one of the most recognisable artworks in the world. The story goes that Van Gogh painted the view from his window while he was at Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy, in southern France. 

For the painter, “The night was more alive and richly coloured than the day.” 

A swirling blue sky punctuated by golden-yellow stars is undoubtedly mesmerising, but its real superpower is to nudge all kinds of repressed emotions in its viewer. Van Gogh once said that, “There is no blue without yellow and orange.”

Inside Van Gogh 360°

Inside the Sunflowers painting by Vincent Van Gogh at Van Gogh 360°

At first glance, you may experience a sense of tranquillity. As you continue to fixate your eyes on the masterpiece, sadness, gratitude, or wistfulness may wash over you. This is what I witnessed last Sunday morning as I came across a group of 30-year-olds at the Van Gogh 360° showcase being held in Gurugram’s upscale Cyber City. 

“As a self-taught artist who enjoys everything about art and aesthetics, Van Gogh’s The Starry Night has always made an impression. I have even tried to paint my version of the masterpiece. Being here with my closest friends is an experience I can’t express in words. We are all filled with joy, pain, sadness, and tranquillity–it’s surreal to say the least,” says Arushi Thakreja, an event manager from Delhi. 

 Van Gogh 360°

At Van Gogh 360° in Gurugram

After a successful debut in Mumbai, the immersive experience is enthralling the residents of Delhi-NCR. The Van Gogh 360° showcase, organised by Festival House Inc, brings over 300 of Van Gogh’s works, including Almond Blossom, Wheatfield with Crows, Irises, and Sunflowers, in a dynamic show. 

YS Life visited the exhibit to know if the hype is real. 

Tracing Van Gogh’s life and work

As you enter the showcase, there’s a striking bar that welcomes you. Take your pick from alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks and make your way to the education gallery. This space represents everything about Van Gogh’s life and work through large pictorial slides, complemented with literature that details out the different turning points in his life. The instrumental music being played in the gallery elevates the experience by notches. 

The first slide introduces viewers to Van Gogh’s illustrious body of work and how the painter created an estimated 2,100 drawings in just a decade. I was particularly taken up by his pursuit of the peasant life that he often depicted through poor cottages in the dirtiest corners in his works. 

 Van Gogh 360°

Inside Van Gogh 360°

From learning how Van Gogh took up art after a series of failed careers to understanding that his self-portraits were not about humouring his narcissism but because of a financial crisis, I was exposed to a wealth of precious information that left me awestruck! 

During his time in Paris between 1886-88, his mental health deteriorated drastically. He wrote, “I have put my heart and soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.”

At the age of 37, Van Gogh took his life. Evidence from his actions and writings suggest he suffered from bipolar disorder and used his art to deal with his disconnection with the world around him. 

 Van Gogh 360°

Almond Blossoms by Vincent Van Gogh

Apart from The Starry Night, his floral paintings are equally well-known. Van Gogh is said to have been enamoured by almond orchards in Arles in the south of France. After he was admitted to the hospital in Arles following an incident that resulted in him cutting off a portion of his ear, he was attended to by an intern who was kind and attentive to the artist. As someone who loved painting people, Van Gogh gifted him his portrait to show his gratitude.

Exposing the Instagram generation to art 

The journey from the education gallery to the immersive experience, where viewers were treated to large, floor-to-ceiling projections in a three-dimensional format, was astoundingly magical. Unsurprisingly, the exhibition witnessed throngs of youngsters who couldn’t stop taking pictures or selfies. But well, that’s today’s Instagram generation for you.

This time around, one can’t blame them because the projections are so vibrant and larger than life that they literally suck you into Van Gogh’s world. Each frame is like a picture postcard.

The interest in Van Gogh among the younger lot can be attributed to Netflix’s popular series Emily in Paris, where the Van Gogh exhibit is captured on camera. 

Van Gogh has always been the darling of the pop culture world. From a museum dedicated to him in Amsterdam to movies like Loving Vincent, documentaries, and more, we can never have enough of the artist. 

The immersive gallery at the Gurugram showcase felt like a parallel universe of sorts. Visitors unapologetically lounged on bean bags or lay on floors to experience the magic wash over them. It felt like you were a part of The Starry Night—it was an out-of-body experience for many of us. 

“I have been facing several mental health issues for the last few years. Let’s just say I have hardly stepped out lately, but I couldn’t hold myself back to be at the Van Gogh showcase. It has been cathartic in so many ways,” confesses Ananya Sahay, a PhD student. 

As I said earlier, Van Gogh’s exquisite artworks possess a certain magic—they will hypnotise with their beauty and you will be left asking for more!

Book tickets here for Delhi-NCR. The exhibit will also travel next to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune. 

Edited by Megha Reddy