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Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience opens today in Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE – When you step into Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, you’re not stepping into an ordinary art gallery. You’re stepping into a full experience that, more than just hanging paintings on a wall, surrounds you in the moving and skillful pieces of Vincent Van Gogh.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience opens today at 6123 University Drive Unit 100 in Huntsville. You can get tickets and information concerning what days and hours it is open at www.vangoghexpo.com/huntsville.

The exhibit is presented by Exhibition Hub, an international exhibition distributor, curator, and producer. Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience was the group’s first ever digital art project. It was launched in 2017.

According to John Zaller, Executive Producer of Exhibition Hub, they chose Van Gogh’s art to be the subject of their first exhibition because of his renown and multidimensional life.

“We focused on Vincent Van Gogh because he really is the rockstar of the art world. He’s well-known. He has an incredible story. His work is recognizable but also very captivating in a very special way,” said Zaller.

The exhibit uses high-tech projection technology to display and animate more than 400 Of Van Gogh’s works including both sketches and completed pieces. It has traveled the country and is now arriving in Huntsville.

Zaller said Huntsville was a perfect place to take Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience next.

“Huntsville is a very smart market. It’s a market that really celebrates culture. It’s a market that really values these types of experiences just from the research that we did. We basically just decided that it was the place to come where people would really appreciate this work, and also from the technology perspective. With all the technology that’s in Huntsville being developed there, we thought that it would be a nice nod to all the technology that’s being created there as well.”

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience goes beyond a typical art display by delving into the artist’s life. Walking through the exhibit is like walking through his life from his early years to the end of his life.

In the process of designing the exhibit, Zaller and the team became acquainted with Van Gogh as both a person and an artist. Zaller explained, “We poured over Van Gogh’s works and also got really in depth into his life story, his biography, really got to know him in great detail so that we could put together a story that not only features over 400 of his sketches and paintings, but also gives you a real glimpse into his life and his times and his struggles.”

Letters between family members and Van Gogh, stories of his brother and sisters, and the artist’s earlier works grace the first galleries of the exhibition. These pieces all lead up to the immersive gallery or what Zaller calls the “the crown jewel” of the exhibit. The immersive gallery displays over 400 of Van Gogh’s pieces to a custom score in a 35 minute display that wraps the guests inside the paintings by projecting them on the walls of the room in a 360 degree experience.

Starry Night is one of the paintings featured in the immersive gallery. Exhibition Hub’s high-tech projection system immerses you in this renowned painting, which because of the short brush strokes, inspired by Japanese art, used by Van Gogh make the painting appear crisp on the projections.

Zaller says they chose to make Starry Night a significant part of the exhibit because it’s one of Van Gogh’s most famous works and for its extraordinary technique and unique perspective on the night sky.

“It’s emblematic of Van Gogh’s entire style where he said, ‘I’m going to paint a different way. I’m going to paint not just what I’m seeing but what I’m feeling.’ And he felt the power of those stars in the sky in such a way that they became these glowing orbs, these swirling glowing orbs,” explained Zaller. “It, really, in a way, sums up his work so powerfully that we decided that it really needed to be featured and it really is featured right in the middle of the immersive experience.”

After exploring Van Gogh the artist, the galleries that follow the climactic display of Starry Night and other famous paintings explore Van Gogh the man by delving into his mental struggles. The final gallery places you up close and personal with Van Gogh the person with displays of his self-portraits.

“We give you a glimpse into some of the struggles he incurred as an artist and as a human being with a really beautiful wrap up of dozens of Van Gogh’s self-portraits surrounding you in the room. You feel very close to him at that point,” Zaller said.

At the end of the exhibit, guests are invited to express their inner artist and create artwork of their own design that then gets incorporated into the exhibition. The finale also includes a virtual reality aspect that takes you through the French countryside but through the lens of Van Gogh’s paintings of provincial scenes.

“There’s a real power in digital art in terms of helping you get centered and focused and relieving anxiety and stress, and so, that’s it; it’s just a great getaway in that regard,” described Zaller. “We’re happy to bring Van Gogh’s works to a new audience in a new way, and we think that this type of digital art projection can introduce a lot of new audiences to art in very powerful ways that they’ll be able to carry with them for a long time.”

See Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience for yourself at its Huntsville location at 6123 University Dr. Visit vangoghexpo.com for more information and to book tickets.

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