Step inside Van Gogh’s masterpieces at new exhibit

A new exhibit designed entirely in Montreal is offering a modern perspective on the timeless Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh.

“It’s all about emotion and coming into contact with the artist in a different way,” said Mathieu St-Arnaud, executive director of Normal Studio.

“We don’t have the frames, so we can step inside the paintings.”

Normal Studio teamed up with the art centre Oasis Immersion to create Van Gogh – Distorsion, which opened to the public Thursday.

“This is really an opportunity to meet the artist in a more experiential way,” said Denys Lavigne, Oasis Immersion president and co-founder.

The exhibit projects some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings onto the walls and floors of the Palais des Congres.

The word “distortion” is a nod to an artist known for seeing things differently.

“At the time his paintings were considered a distorted reality, when most painters had a more photographic approach,” explains Lavigne.

This is not the first immersive exhibit inspired by Van Gogh. Another travelling installation, Imagine Van Gogh, launched in France and toured the world, including a 2019 stop in Montreal.

But Van Gogh – Distorsion is uniquely Canadian, and was put on by a team of around 40 Montrealers, fusing art, history and technology. There are more than two hundred projectors and speakers, while the main room features one of the largest interactive floors in the world.

The exhibit features three rooms. The first is a black and white gallery displaying rare sketches and letters from Van Gogh to his brother Theo. The second room explores what kind of art Van Gogh might have created if he was alive today: “How he interprets the night, the sun flowers,” said Lavigne. “They are presented in a very simplistic way.”

The third and main room allows visitors to experience Van Gogh’s masterpieces like Starry Night and Sunflowers from 360 degrees.

“They will feel something,” said St-Arnaud. “Art is about feeling something.”

St-Arnaud hope the exhibit will stir emotions and also change perspectives.

“People who don’t go tto he museum might say ‘okay I’m a bit more comfortable’ I’ll go.

Van Gogh-Distorsion is scheduled to run until September. 

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