December 5, 2021

Behind the scenes look at Immersive Van Gogh exhibit

Lighthouse ArtSpace extended an invitation to the Chimes for a behind-the-scenes tour of the new Columbus exhibit, “Immersive Van Gogh.” 

The “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibit opened on Oct. 28 at Lighthouse ArtSpace, located at 940 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, Ohio. 

The venue started construction two months ago to transform a former furniture store into an interactive exhibit, celebrating the life and work of iconic artist, Vincent Van Gogh. 

Vincent van Gogh murals will decorate the venue’s walls. Photo taken by Shannon Craig.

The exhibit, which recently opened locations in Phoenix, Minneapolis, Denver and Cleveland, has sold over 3.6 million tickets across America, making it one of the most sought-after attractions in the country.

 “Immersive Van Gogh” has also sold-out shows in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

The exhibit contains projections featuring 18 Van Gogh pieces, Columbus-inspired murals and sculptures, Van Gogh-themed cookies made by The Fat Girl Bakery, a children’s education space and additional works from local artists. The venue plans to offer morning yoga sessions in the weeks after opening. 

Van Gogh-inspired cookies from The Fat Girl Bakery and a van Gogh hardhat created by Danny Smith. Photo taken by Shannon Craig.

An especially interesting work on display is Van Gogh’s “Vase with Poppies” (1886), which features a self-portrait of the artist hidden underneath a surface layer of paint. The self-portrait was only discovered later through digital X-ray analysis. 

So far, the project has been successful.

“We have been delighted to see the way “Immersive Van Gogh” has been embraced thus far by Columbus,” says Lighthouse Immersive Producer, Corey Ross. “The residents have always embraced live entertainment, from OSU sports to theatre and concerts. And this exhibit is no exception.” 

Producer Svetlana Dvoretsky said, “We’ve created a unique and enthralling production where Columbus residents and visitors alike can quite literally surround themselves with the work of Vincent van Gogh, one of the greatest artists who ever lived.” 

The projection exhibit was designed by Massimiliano Siccardi and is accompanied by a soundtrack created by Luca Longobardi, both of whom are recognized as  pioneers of immersive digital art experiences in France. 

The “Immersive Van Gogh” projections use state-of-the-art technology to promote storytelling, as the exhibit is a deep dive into Van Gogh’s emotional and psychological narrative. 

The 35-minute show features impressive projections of Vincent van Gogh’s art. Photo taken by Shannon Craig.

With over 500,000 cubic feet of projections, the exhibit uses 20-foot walls and 44 individual projectors to create the 35-minute show. 

Critics have wondered if “Immersive Van Gogh” is taking away art from museums. 

“We don’t see this as competitive to the art museums, we see it as enhancing what people can expose themselves to,” Ross said. “It will really inspire them to learn more about the artists and feel more dimensions from the painting itself.” 

While the exhibit’s timeline is currently open-ended, Lighthouse ArtSpace has expressed a desire to create more immersive experiences in the future.

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