A view into his mind
How do you take the story of Vincent van Gogh around the world and convey his troubled genius to a global audience, all while his work remains on display in Amsterdam? His artwork has become a point of pilgrimage, so how do you draw in thousands of visitors without the pull of the original works? This was the challenge we were presented with when the Van Gogh Museum approached us to create a new touring exhibition.
Our award-winning exhibition plunges you into the depths of Van Gogh’s brilliant yet troubled mind. Rather than a passive viewing experience, you break the fourth wall and step into his paintings, immersing yourself into his world.
Touch, sit and play your way through an interactive journey
In the absence of the artworks, we turned to the museum’s world-class scholarship and unrivalled archive collections. Letters and literature give a unique insight into Van Gogh's artistic brilliance. Through extensive archival research undertaken in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum, we developed an audioguide script that uses his own words to narrate his story and lead you through the experience. You are drawn closer to Van Gogh than ever before as he intimately reveals his innermost thoughts and feelings. The angst of entering the asylum; the pain of living without recognition. The museum’s voice disappears and you are absorbed into his world.
From his suicide in northern France, you are led through a series of flashbacks from the rural Netherlands to Parisian cafés. Inspired by promenade theatre, our design uses projection, lighting, setworks, sound, smell and touch to create a multisensory experience that immerses you in each scene. Watch blossoming orchards transform into harvested fields and starry skies whirl overhead you as lie back on a haystack. Take a seat at an interactive table to meet the potato eaters and discover Van Gogh’s bedroom where shadow play reveals his darkest thoughts.
A demountable design
The experience culminates in a vast interactive wall celebrating Van Gogh’s enduring fame. From tea towels to tattoos, the installation explores his lasting legacy and profound impact on popular culture.
Logistical challenges around shipping and installation were overcome through a completely demountable design that is both easy to reconstruct and flexible to suit different sites’ infrastructure. Since its opening, the experience has won awards, travelled the world and drawn crowds in cities from Asia to America.
THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement, Immersive Touring Museum Exhibit
International Asia Music Philharmonic Orchestra