VAN GOGH- THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE- LONDON
ADULT £24.90 CHILD £15.90
SUNFLOWER RATING 🌻🌻🌻
There are a number of Immersive Van Gogh experiences to immerse yourself in these days. They seem to be all the rage at the moment and they certainly offer a new and different way to see and participate in Vincent's work. When we visited the version in Shoreditch, in London, we were full of hope as one only had to see the glossy and many five star reviews online.
The premises are good, and as you enter you are offered a thimbleful of Japanese tea as a nod to Vincent's love of Japanese prints- this was a nice
touch and was served by a lovely staff member -( all of the team there were charming and very helpful).
Taking the option of the VIP experience (an extra £15.00) we were handed a headset to watch a virtual reality movie which lasts about ten minutes, This was the highlight, as you begin in Van Gogh's bedroom in The Yellow House in Arles before leaving to walk through the countryside in southern France seeing some of the scenes that inspired him. Of course, in reality, not all of these paintings were direct copies of real scenery, but this is not reality and was a mind- boggling and enjoyable experience.
Where it disappointed was the immersive room itself. Having visited other versions of this and been very impressed, this one wasn't very satisfying. It didn't really feel like you were fully immersed and bathed in Vincent- the experience was more like a partially filled bath that wasn't quite hot enough. Possibly this was because the animation didn't cover the floor area very well and the movie itself felt more like an art film with occasional animation.
That said, it is Vincent after all, and there is still enormous pleasure to be found in sitting in a deckchair looking at giant versions of Irises and Starry Night.
VAN GOGH. SELF-PORTRAITS
THE COURTAULD GALLERY, LONDON.
3 FEB-8 MAY 2022
SUNFLOWER RATING 🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻
This is simply a must for any Van Gogh fan. The exhibition brings together fifteen of Vincent's self-portraits which gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contrast and compare the differing ways he saw himself at various points throughout his life.
There are many reasons why Van Gogh painted so many self-portraits; one of them being that he simply didn't have the resources and means of finding models to work with, but there was a more profound reason as well. They were also a kind of test for himself; as he wrote to his brother Theo
"...if I can manage to paint the coloration of my own head, which is not without presenting some difficulty, I'll surely be able to paint the heads of the other fellows and women as well".
So he persevered, and went on an astonishing voyage of self-discovery that enables us, all these years later, to see him through his own eyes.
Sometimes he's melancholy, sometimes benign, but always in his expression there is something searching in his gaze as if he is trying to find out something about himself, some secret to life. It is this that we, the viewers, connect and empathise with and why this exhibition feels like such a personal encounter with Vincent.