Toronto’s new “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibit was one of the city’s only large-scale events that wasn’t cancelled or moved online in response to COVID-19 this summer.
And art enthusiasts couldn’t be happier about that.
Located in the Toronto Star building (1 Yonge St.), the game-changing exhibit takes over the space that once housed the newspaper’s printing press, transforming it into a magical, dream-like roller coaster ride inside the mind and work of the famed painter. Through 600,000 cubic feet of stunning floor-to-ceiling projections, socially distanced visitors can (safely) experience the brilliance and madness of Vincent Van Gogh’s imagination.
Set to a moving soundtrack created by Luca Longobardi, it’s the type of experience that evokes both an emotional and awe-inspiring reaction that lasts all evening. Some may even describe the whole thing as a highly trippy affair.
The 35-minute experience offers a completely new way to take in Van Gogh’s works – from his sunny landscapes and night scene, to his famous portraits and iconic still-life paintings. This includes the Mangeurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Eaters, 1885), the Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1889), Les Tournesols (Sunflowers, 1888), and La Chambre à coucher (The Bedroom, 1889).
“Immersive Van Gogh” is designed and conceived by Massimiliano Siccardi. Both Siccardi and Longobardi are known for pioneering the blockbuster immersive digital art experiences in France with Atelier des Lumières. With its vibrant and innovative pre-COVID art scene, Toronto made a natural choice for their next exhibit.
In response to COVID-19 and subsequent physical distancing requirements, Immersive Van Gogh was recently adapted to allow for the world’s fist drive-in digital art exhibition, ‘Gogh By Car.” The innovative exhibit accommodates 14 cars via drive-in, so guests can take in the magical experience from the socially distanced comfort of their vehicles.
Personally, however, I recommend the socially distanced walk-in option – something that’s facilitated by clear circles on the ground – because it lends itself to a more truly immersive experience (unless you have a car with a massive sunroof). Those who purchase tickets to “Gogh by Car,” however, also receive free walk-in tickets to use when they feel ready to do so.
The first socially distanced walk-in option begins July 1 in Gallery 1; “Gogh by Car” begins July 3 in Gallery 2. Find more information here.