Written by Taylor Courtney
Photos by Michael Pascual and Hannah Pascual
Have you ever felt like you could just step inside of a painting? That is what the new Beyond Van Gogh: An Immersive Experience has created for its audience. Popping up in cities all over the country, the exhibit has made its way to SoCal and is currently playing at The Anaheim Convention Center. This multi-sensory experience transports you through van Gogh’s life and more than 300 of his iconic works.
The exhibit consists of three different spaces used to highlight different media as well as aspects of Vincent van Gogh’s life. As you begin your journey, large golden frames seem to levitate all around you. Mixed among the frames are beautiful projections of van Gogh’s quotes, excerpts, and stories that let you into his frame of mind throughout his life. It is an intriguing start, with interesting and thought-provoking musings for those who might not be as familiar with his life story or his work.
Heading into the second space, you really get a three-dimensional experience. As you walk through a giant gold frame, you can’t help but be mesmerized by a cascading waterfall of colorful projections that start at the top of the wall in front of you, and seamlessly sweep all the way down the wall and onto the very ground you are standing on. The detail, the colors, and the flawless projections are spellbinding. Coupled with the ethereal, dreamy symphonic score filling your ears, you could happily stand there for hours.
The final space is the most impressive of them all. Covered floor to ceiling with perfectly placed, multi-dimensional projections, van Gogh’s art is on full display. You only have a few moments to gaze at each wall before the paintings begin to swirl and dance around you as they transform before your eyes into a new, different collection of paintings. Many will instantly recognize classics such as “The Starry Night,” “Sunflowers,” and ‘Café Terrace at Night”. It is breathtaking how the art flows across multi-surfaces and becomes a completely new landscape, vase of flowers, collection of faces, or even a self-portrait of the artist himself. The theatrical cycle of masterpieces in this final space takes about 30 minutes to complete.
As your experience comes to an end, guests are encouraged to take home a beautifully wrapped, long-stem sunflower, a nod to one of van Gogh’s favorite flowers to paint. There is also a fun gift shop to purchase merchandise and enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee, presented by Keurig. The entire experience is like an in-person Fantasia, special for both art fanatics and for people just looking for a unique date night. Open to all ages, enjoy the experience Sunday-Thursday 10AM-10PM and Friday-Saturday 10AM-11PM. The entire visit takes around an hour with final entry one hour before close. The installation runs for a limited engagement through Labor Day weekend (September 5, 2021) at the Anaheim Convention Center (ACC North – 200 Level A Side), and is also currently running at 6400 Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles now through January 2022. This type of cinematic exhibition does not come around often, so you will not want to miss it while it’s in SoCal!