Meet Vincent van Gogh

A multisensory, interactive exhibition on the famous Dutch artist opens this month on London’s South Bank

Art and Design 7 Feb 2020

Installation view of Meet Vincent van Gogh. Image courtesy of Meet Vincent van Gogh

Even those with only a passing interest in art (or even an adamant disdain for it) know Vincent van Gogh. Granted, they may not know how to pronounce his surname properly (very few people outside of The Netherlands do) – or only know him due to an unfortunate incident involving a razor and his left ear – but the post-Impressionist painter is widely recognised as one of the most important and influential figures in the western art world.

The self-confessed art pessimist is exactly the type of person invited to ‘meet’ Vincent van Gogh in a new interactive exhibition opening this February along London’s South Bank. Hosted in a vast temporary exhibition space, Meet Vincent van Gogh is a ‘multisensory experience’ consisting of large-scale projections of the artist’s work and interactive installations. Supported by a fully automated audio guide (one that recognises when a visitor has stepped into a room), the experience is split into six ‘chapters’ charting van Gogh’s life and career.

A recreation of Bedroom in Arles. Installation view of Meet Vincent van Gogh, image courtesy of Meet Vincent van Gogh

Meet Vincent van Gogh is the brainchild of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum and two family-owned entertainment and tourism experts, Golden Tours in London and Barcelona-based Proactiv. Having toured around Beijing, Barcelona and Seoul, the exhibition will open in London and Lisbon this February with plans to travel to other major world cities.

The Van Gogh Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of the artist’s drawings and paintings, attracting some 2.2 million visitors a year. However, these collections rarely go on public loan. Meet Vincent van Gogh is therefore a fresh concept and innovative way to present his work to people from all walks of life. Unlike the ‘red velvet rope’ restrictions of most museums and galleries, visitors are actively encouraged to explore and engage with the work through interactive displays and replicas of famous elements from the artist’s life. These include a recreation of his bedroom, the ‘Yellow House’, which he briefly shared with artist Paul Gauguin (with disastrous consequences), and even the Saint-Rémy asylum to which he was admitted shortly after in 1889.

The Yellow House. Installation view of Meet Vincent van Gogh, image courtesy of Meet Vincent van Gogh

This family-friendly exhibition is a unique chance to experience van Gogh’s art as never before. Catch it while you can.

Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience; 7 February – 21 May 2020; Upper Ground, London SE1 9PP; prices from £18;