The world premiere of the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit opened to audiences in Toronto early May. Against all odds, it’s managed not only open but thrive in the art scene during pandemic times. It is one of the very few big-name experiential exhibitions that’s managed to offer locals and tourists a place to safely escape the day-to-day. Not only that, the organizers of the exhibition have creatively found ways to explore the world of Vincent Van Gogh beyond the Dutch artist’s larger than life projected masterpieces. There are several on-site experiences from yoga and barre classes to floral design workshops waiting for you when you’re ready to step out.
The exhibition itself is a walk-in (or drive-in) immersive experience. Over 600,000 cubic feet of space located in the historic Toronto Star newspaper’s printing press location (1 Yonge Street) offers a stunning and high tech presentation of the beloved artist. Visitors are invited to wander through the larger than life animated works of Van Gogh’s most famous pieces. Socially distanced bubble spaces indicate where to safely stand, sit, and er…we even saw people lulled into a soothing slumber. Visitors are welcomed to take photos but we would recommend taking in the full experience first without distractions.
Magical, yes as the sweeping view draws your attention to Van Gogh’s work through colours, movement in strokes and details unlike any other exhibitions of his masterpieces. The score is a perfect accompaniment that only heightens your senses and takes visitors on an emotional journey of imagination. The installation includes the Mangeurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Eaters, 1885), the Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1889), Les Tournesols (Sunflowers, 1888), and La Chambre à coucher (The Bedroom, 1889).
If you’re looking for a fun learning experience in the city, the exhibition also offers several classes and workshop add-ons. The latest offering is “Flowers to Gogh” a floral design class inspired by the works of Van Gogh led by acclaimed Toronto florist, Katya Agasiyants. The beautiful experience begins with entry into the exhibition an hour prior to the class. Then, attendees are led to a large well ventilated adjoining space for this floral workshop. Participants are offered a glass of bubbly and a few desserts (included with each ticket) as they settled into their assigned tables and admire the works of Van Gogh that is a continuation of the mesmerizing floor-to-ceiling exhibition.
On the night we were there, a generous “recipe” of pre-selected fresh blooms and greenery of the season were waiting for us. Included in the mix were Delphinium, Eucalyptus, Italian Ruscus, Snapdragons, Rose Shimmer, Majorica and more. The inspiration for this class was Van Gogh’s Les Roses.
Katya offered up tips on how to create stunning arrangements including composition, the balance of colours, groupings, and clever tricks of the floral trade. There were other staff ready to help if needed. Our arrangements were lush we were very happy to bring them home and show off our work!
We felt so inspired and refreshed after this night out. A much-needed break from everything that’s been happening and what we’ve been looking for right in the city. Ideal for a ladies’ night out, date night, or well deserved time for yourself.
Another night is planned for October 7, 2020. Book your tickets at www.vangoghexhibit.ca
The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibition was designed and conceived by Massimiliano Siccardi, with soundtrack by Loca Longobardi, who both pioneered immersive digital art experiences in France with Atelier des Lumieres which has been seen by over 2 million visitors.
What else you should to know?
Tickets for the Flowers to Gogh workshop experience also includes entry into the exhibition before and after the class.
Masks must be worn at all times except for when seated – eating or drinking.
Clay pots and Oasis included with arrangements.
Tables and chairs comply with social distance requirements and participants are capped at the allowable numbers.
When you visit the exhibition itself, we recommended booking the cushion for additional comfort.
Hand sanitizer provided at each table.
Outside of the workshop space and exhibition there is a small cafe that offers refreshments and sweets.
The exhibition and floral workshops are wheelchair accessible.
Barre Flow and Vinyasa Flow Yoga Classes and includes entry to the exhibition. Check site for ticket prices and schedule.
Drive in experience also available. Check site for ticket prices and schedule.