Experiencing Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, London

It was the event that almost didn’t happen, one of those post-lockdown days that seemed doomed to be rescheduled and postponed indefinitely. Finally, after a bout of Covid and a memorial service, Sarah and I went to London for the day for a breakfast at Duck & Waffle and an afternoon at Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience.

“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream”

The exhibition is a vibrant splash of colour and light from the minute you walk through the doors. I loved the massive sunflowers!

We learned that Van Gogh had painted the same item over and over again, from different angles and different perspectives until he moved on to his next obsession.

In this section, we sat in a dark area while painting after painting appeared, all of flowers in a vase. Given my adoration of poppies, it was obvious that this was going to be my favourite one.

This was a very cool 3-D rendition of a painting. You had to stand on a box and position yourself just so to get the full 3-D effect.

A recreation of Van Gogh’s room which, again, he painted over and over again. You learn so much about Van Gogh at the exhibition including his relationship with Theo and his weakening mental state.

In the middle of the exhibition, there is an option to pay £5 extra to don a virtual reality headset. I would absolutely recommend taking this virtual tour! I loved the journey through the town Van Gogh lived in and the fields and woodlands that inspired him so.

All too soon we arrived in a large, dark room where we laid in deck chairs and watched Van Gogh’s beautiful paintings projected on the walls to soothing, tranquil music.

We were fresh from an ordeal of walking down 40 flights of stairs from the Duck & Waffle due to a power cut so we reclined in those chairs for longer than is strictly socially acceptable. Nevertheless, it was a moving, beautiful experience.

I was most amused to see two of my most recent Kindle covers during the exhibition – I recently replaced Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom with his Starry Night.

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