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L.A. Beat

Get to know Van Gogh through Immersive Van Gogh Experience at Enmax Centre

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Get immersed in  the life of post-Impressionist Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh with Beyond Van Gogh : The  Immersive Experience which runs  at the Enmax Centre July 14- Aug. 6.


Beyond Van Gogh: the Immersive Experience Curator Fanny Curtat Photo by Timothy Norris Paquin Entertainment Group

 When most people think of Dutch born , French artist Vincent Van Gogh, they think of “ the ear cutting incident” and a few key paintings  “ Starry Night,” Sunflowers” and “ Iris,” but curator Fanny Curtat wanted to explore the man’s mindset, so she worked with Paquin Entertainment Group and a team of animators and digital arts professionals to condense letters to his brother Theo and  some 300 paintings and 850 sketches and designs into 300 pieces to tell Van Gogh’s story.


“ We worked own this exhibit from our homes during the pandemic,”  Curtat said, adding since Spring 2021, it has toured to over 60 cities before coming to  Lethbridge.


“It’s a really unique way of experiencing  Vincent’s life. It’s like walking into the middle  of a painting,” summarized  curator Fanny Curtat from Montreal.


“If you have an art history background, it’s great. But you don’t need one. Even if you don’t know anything abut Vincent, it is an immersive experience,” she continued, adding people have a lot of different reactions to the exhibit, which is a blend of history and technology.


“We’ve had kids and adults twirling in the middle of it. We’ve had people who are mesmerized, people who  share it and discuss it with other people,” she said.

Von Gogh had a troubled life battling depression, poverty, mental illness and insecurity and eventually committing suicide at age 39.


“Vincent was a very polarizing character. But he’s very relatable. When you consider most of his work was done in the last 10 years of his life,” she said.

“When you walk into the  first room, we have letters to his brother Theo that you can read. Then in the next room, it’s 30,000 square foot and  all four sides including the floor are covered with images. You get a really clear sense of his evolution,” she described.


“It would be cruel not to include his works ‘Starry, Starry Night’  ‘ Sunflower’ and ‘Iris,’ so they’re there,” she continued, adding they chronicle his life growing up in the Netherlands, then his moves to Paris and then the South of France.

“This exhibit is an opportunity to experience Vincent in a different way than just a historical context.  But also  his relevance today,” she said.


“His art is all about the joy of appreciating nature and experiencing nature.”


Curtat studied a Van Gogh  while earning her PHd.


“It’s hard not to come across him,” she said, noting a lot of Van Gogh works are in the United States.

“People in the United States  started to buy his paintings in the early twentieth century and that opened up the French market. So a lot of Vincent’s works are in the United States. ‘Starry Night’ is in New York City, which is only six hours away for me,” she said.


“There is so much texture and colour. It has a special aura and magic. It is such an exciting and mesmerizing experience,” she said, noting the exhibit captures that magic.

“Music is a really important part of this exhibit. We didn’t use period music that he would have heard, but it’s period appropriate,” she said.


Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience runs July 14, 2023 – August 6, 2023 Sunday - Thursday: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.- 8 p.m.; Mondays: closed; Final entry 1 hour before close 

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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