The Van Gogh Immersive Experience is a brilliant mix of traditional art and technology


A photo I took inside the Van Gogh Immersive Exhibit.

Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting while he was alive: The Red Vineyard. It went for 400 francs in Belgium just seven months before his death. 400 francs is the equivalent of a little over $11 today, yet Van Gogh is more popular than ever amongst art enthusiasts. The Van Gogh Immersive Exhibit allows for a totally new way to appreciate his incredible creations.

I attended the Immersive Van Gogh Experience in Chicago over winter break. This exhibit is held at the Lighthouse ArtSpace at the Germania Club, located just north of downtown. Its super high ceilings and unique rooms were large, but they were still intimate enough for the exhibit, which included 500,000 cubic feet of projections.

The projections are displayed on all four walls and the floor, capturing Van Gogh’s emotionally charged artistry and brilliance in an impactful way. ”

The exhibit, which I am tempted to call a show, runs on approximately a one-hour loop and includes many of Van Gogh’s pieces projected in a 360-degree setting. Van Gogh created over 900 paintings in his life, so this is just a sampling of his more famous works. The projections are displayed on all four walls and the floor, capturing Van Gogh’s emotionally charged artistry and brilliance in an impactful way. 

Designed by Creative Director and Italian film producer Massimiliano Siccardi, Immersive Van Gogh contains original, mood-setting music by Italian multimedia composer Luca Longobardi and with Vittorio Guidotti as the Art Director. Siccardi’s immersive productions in Paris have been seen by over 2 million visitors and were featured on the Netflix show Emily in Paris

While it may seem far-fetched that animation could do justice to his masterpieces, it does. The soundtrack enhances the entire experience, creating a vibrant and awe-inspiring moment. The room was completely silent as attendees watched the projections in wonder; even the smallest of children were completely engrossed. I sat on the floor of the largest room, and I was entirely surrounded by the projections. 

Each venue will provide for a little different experience, and each within the venue does as well. I watched the show for about two loops, walking from room to room. There were three rooms in the Chicago venue, and because the first was a more massive room with two 3D mirrors in the center, it was a spectacular place to watch the Starry Night projection in. One of the other rooms was quite a bit smaller, and watching while in this room gave a different perspective. 

The exhibit can be seen in many major cities across the U.S., but from Michigan, Chicago is the closest. Hopefully, the Immersive Exhibit, yet another way to enjoy the genius work of Van Gogh, makes its way to Detroit or Grand Rapids. From one $11 painting to the Portrait of Dr. Gachet, which sold for $148.6 million in 1990, Van Gogh continues to awe and inspire everyone in the presence of his work.