Renowned for his colorous expression and movement but also a troubled mind, Vincent van Gogh was unarguably one of the most legendary impressionist artists. What if you could go inside one of his paintings — or better yet, inside the mind of the painter?
From April 15 through June 12, you can do just that at Beyond van Gogh: An Immersive Experience at Ice Palace Studios in Miami. The Beyond van Gogh exhibit will give the people of Miami a chance to journey into the world of van Gogh through cutting-edge projection and technology.
The event is organized by Primo Entertainment, a leading entertainment production company that has operated live shows for superstars like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.
“Miami is an event-driven city with a great deal of cultural diversity, which perfectly complements the Beyond van Gogh event,” said Sonia Carbo, a marketing director at Primo Entertainment. While it is not the first of its kind, the exhibit will be the largest that Primo has run to date.
Why not just display art in a traditional setting? Because “instead of the painting ending at the four corners of the canvas,” Carbo said, “it is extended and continues all around you. It is truly breathtaking.”
This is exactly what creative director Mathieu St-Arnaud intended for the experience. St-Arnaud is a Montreal native and artistic genius who has been working with projection for almost 22 years. He now runs Normal Studio, a full-service creative studio that is soon to collaborate with Disney and Cirque du Soleil.
St-Arnaud and his talented team of video designers, art historians, animators and more have been hard at work on the van Gogh project since October. With several engaging exhibits popping up around the world, he sought to make the van Gogh experience one of a kind.
“I wanted people to meet Vincent, the man behind the art … to enter the frame and go into that mind of his,” he stated.
Van Gogh became the archetype of the tortured artist due to his mental illness and ultimate commitment of suicide. The exhibit touches upon how painting was a healing process for him. In his earlier works, the colors were more tame and sober, but as he aged and progressed, they became more vibrant and filled with life.
“Oddly enough, van Gogh was happiest when his paintings seemed darkest,” St-Arnaud noted. He said he believes that the exhibit will bring the same healing properties to the audience and that emotions will roam freely throughout the experience.
The exhibit includes more than 300 paintings by van Gogh, but of course, “The Starry Night” is most famous. “The Starry Night” was painted in Saint-Rémy, France. To intensify the emotions of the painting, St-Arnaud’s team looked up the very same location on Google Earth and used a panoramic view to see the hills, buildings and villages that van Gogh could have witnessed while painting his masterpiece.
“Now you’re actually living in it. You look at your feet and you see what van Gogh could have seen, and you’re imagining the travel of the same clouds,” St-Arnaud said. The visuals create a near virtual-reality effect.
Beyond this, the soundscape is expertly crafted, too. Jean-Sébastien Coté is a renowned musician and sound designer who has famously composed for plays. He incorporated the two worlds of classical and modern music into the background score, so don’t be surprised when you hear a Coldplay song or two as you walk through the pieces.
St-Arnaud stressed that all of this will be conducted in a safe manner. According to Marketing Director Nathalie Alvarez, the exhibit will be safe and sanitary.
“It is 100% COVID-friendly,” she said with confidence.
Safety measures include temperature checks, mandatory masks, sanitizing stations and floor markings to assist in six-foot social distancing. Primo Entertainment and Ice Palace Studios have joined forces to create a perfectly clean and safe environment for audiences.
The experience is for all age groups, but young adults like Giovanni Aprigliano may get something extra special out of it. Aprigliano, a junior at the University of Miami studying creative advertising, interactive media, art and art history, called the van Gogh experience a “no-brainer” for him.
“I’ve always been in love with van Gogh’s pieces and life story, so I’m excited to see how this will tie all the aspects of his art and life into an interactive experience,” he said.
Aprigliano also mentioned that he was excited to get back into an art space after being restricted for so long due to COVID-19. The van Gogh exhibit will now allow young people to experience art again in a truly modern fashion.
Do yourself your favor and make a plan to visit Beyond van Gogh: An Immersive Experience for a limited engagement. Tickets range from $32.99 on weekdays to $41.99 on weekends plus applicable fees. Have no fear, students can expect a discount! To reserve a spot, visit vangoghmiami.com or go directly to Ticketmaster.
words_leslie dominique photo_courtesy van gogh miami