It’s easy to see why Vincent Van Gogh has inspired loads of exhibits, movies and books.
The beguiling artist’s work shimmers with light. His brush strokes deserve up-close investigation. And his 1889 oil painting “Starry Night”? Well, you could sit and moon over that for hours, wishing to be transported right into the landscape.
And now you can be. Almost.
“Van Gogh Alive,” which opens Friday at The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, is a chance to connect with the prolific painter in a way that’s outside the staid environment of a gallery. The large-scale installation, courtesy of Grande Experiences in Australia and Denver Center for the Performing Arts, is a multisensory experience that features the work and life of Van Gogh from 1880 to 1890, during his time in Arles, Saint Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise, France, where he painted many of his masterpieces. The exhibit will be up through Sept. 26.
“The goal is to immerse attendees completely into Van Gogh’s world as they move through the space, and hopefully offer up a bit of surprise,” said John Ekeberg, the executive director of the center’s Broadway Division. “Through high resolution projections, music, a replication of Van Gogh’s bedroom and a sunflower selfie room, the experience will provide a one-of-a-kind showcase of this amazing work.”
More than 3,000 Van Gogh images, some as tall as 21 feet, will fill screens, walls, columns, ceilings and the floor, all changing and moving, synchronized to a classical music score. Petals will blow across screens, stars will shoot and birds will fly, bringing the artist’s paintings to life. Photos and videos will detail what inspired his paintings. None of Van Gogh’s original paintings will be on display.
The artist died in 1890 as a result of a gunshot to his abdomen. Nobody is quite sure what really happened, and while he was officially diagnosed with epileptic fits, most believe the 37-year-old artist died by suicide in France after a lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder. Other theories also swirl around his death, though, such as murder. As for as slicing off part of his left ear, many believe the gruesome event occurred during a manic phase.
Whatever the truth behind his tragic end, the ginger-haired artist left us with a body of work that has enthralled art lovers and historians through the decades.
“Van Gogh is undoubtedly one of the most popular figures in European art, and his work has uniquely captured the imagination of all who see it,” Ekeberg said. “The richness of color and texture in his work make a perfect match with the technology of high-resolution projection. It’s our hope this type of immersion will lead to an even deeper appreciation of the artist and the beauty of his work.”
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