COLUMN: The Interactive Van Gogh Exhibit truly is immersive

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Elise Keane, Columnist

While I was home for Thanksgiving break, we were looking for things to do, and my youngest sister suggested that we go to the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit in Chicago. I had seen a couple of my friends back home who had posted pictures of the exhibit, but it looked more like a place to take cool Instagram pictures than anything else. I was sorely mistaken. 

The exhibit’s location in Chicago is an unsuspecting building in Old Town. It had a small sign telling you where the line started leading into a white building with a gorgeous tile floor. After a few security stops, we were finally leading up to the exhibit. As my sister and I walked behind the two curtain walls we stopped in our tracks. Immediately we were surrounded by beautiful flowers and faces. It felt like we just stepped into a piece of artwork and became figures ourselves.  

At first, we stayed in the biggest room drinking in the idea of what the exhibit is supposed to look like. We entered 10 minutes late to the showing so we started in the middle of what the exhibit was. Eventually, we started to walk around to see what the other rooms were like. We discovered there were four rooms to this exhibit. Each room was equipped with blank walls which projected an interpretation of Van Gogh’s art on each wall and the floor. It was a kind of show that combined Van Gogh’s pieces into one another.  

Eventually, we settled into the second biggest room in the corner away from the rest of the crowd. It was so captivating to watch all of the different scenes come together surrounding us. The only one that I really didn’t care for was when the walls felt like they were moving around me. It did make me feel a little motion sick. 

We ended up watching the whole thing three times in different locations. Once in a small room that we were lucky enough to get all to ourselves, once floating around all the different rooms and once on the balcony level that overlooked the largest room. Every time was a new experience, but I think my favorite was up on the balcony. Instead of being inside of the paintings you got to see everyone else inside of them as well as seeing the projections from a whole new angle. It was clear that the showcase was supposed to display Van Gogh progressing into madness. 

At the end my family talked about whether Van Gogh would’ve appreciated this display of his artwork. My mom remarked that he probably wouldn’t considering he didn’t want anyone to see his art at all. I think that even though Van Gogh might not appreciate this display of his work, it’s a new way to absorb art as a whole.  

Elise Keane is a sophomore neuroscience major. They can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]