Never one to pass up the chance to an art exhibition, visiting ‘Van Gogh Alive – The Experience’ multimedia travelling exhibition in Cosenza, Calabria is both powerful and memorable.
And following Rome’s exhibition, where better to stage this event than in the new Multimedia Museum in Piazza Bilotti, Cosenza.
Van Gogh Alive – The Experience official trailer.
The official brochure including opening times and pricing.
Having visited several museums in Europe and New York’s MOMA, which hold extensive Van Gogh works and experiencing the ‘real’ art, I was at first a little apprehensive with this multimedia reproduction of the artist’s works.
With many excellent reviews and locals visiting this exhibition, I also read that people from around Italy’s southern region including across from the Ionian Coast, are drawn to this multimedia fantasia.
Wandering the length of pedestrian Corso Mazzini through the delightful Open Air Museum Bilotti (MAB) displaying all of its beautiful stone and fluid bronze sculptures, a precursor to the exhibition, eventually you venture to the newly renovated Piazza Bilotti.
Snuggled beneath this dazzling white expansive piazza lined with restaurants, bars, Gelaterias, and clothing shops, lies the new Museo Multimediale (Multimedia Museum).
Cosenza’s Mayor, Mario Occhiuto’s vision of 7 years’ ago to build the biggest multimedia museum in Italy for a space to enjoy art, technology, and varying exhibitions, was realised this year with the museum’s opening.
Travelling to Australia, USA, Russia, and finally arriving in Italy, this exhibition developed by Grande Exhibitions (an Australian company) using SENSORY4™ technology, is touring the globe.
Rome saw the exhibition as a great success and finally Calabria gets a taste of this immersive production.
Running from the 15th May to the 15th September in Cosenza, entry cost is €13.
Lined with explanations and photos of Van Gogh’s works, which takes around twenty minutes to read, is the long narrow corridor that leads to the exhibition’s entry.
The actual multimedia exhibition lasts for only forty minutes.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
This Dutch Post-Impressionist painter suffered through his short life from severe ailments including epilepsy, Bipolar disorder (modern diagnoses), depression, including poisoning from Thujone (Absinthe) and lead. And later in life, entering mental institutions, prior to his tragic suicide.
Vincent’s life is one of melancholy and tragedy, which is depicted in many paintings through varying stages of his short 37-years of life. Although whilst painting, he believed he was not only making people happy with his work, but that painting also made him feel at peace.
Using colour as his ‘chief symbol of expression’ provides a persuasive and dynamic contrast to his sombre periods in his life.
The exhibition commences in total blackness, creating an atmospheric mood that can only be paralleled to phases of Van Gogh’s life, where occasionally he faded into obscurity within his own mind.
The surrounding multimedia symphony swiftly draws you into a living world of what is, Van Gogh.
Carefully selected dramatic music with surrounding multimedia, fuses the artist’s work, whilst accentuating the visual continual moving canvases, binding together an emotional multi-sensory experience, which envelopes you constantly.
‘Conscience is a man’s compass’
Famous works and many additional pieces, sprinkled with Vincent’s personal letters, insights to his mind and his failing mental state during the later part of his life, dovetail together to present an impacting and impressive exhibition.
A revolutionary medium and platform to present an artist’s work, whilst engaging and consuming.
From his humble beginnings, to life in Paris trying to start an art community, his time in mental institutions, and to his passion for the stars, the exhibition reveals much more than you already may know.
Forty minutes passes much too quickly as you are internalised into the amplified world of moving oils, energetic colours, and an insight to an incredible artist.
Van Gogh’s hundreds of letters to his brother Theo, led doctors to believe that he suffered from Hypergraphia. A disorder commonly linked to mania and epilepsy, with the need to write continuously.
Is this label then apt for all great and prolific writers of our time and the past?
Throughout this post are snippets from Vincent Van Gogh’s letters to his brother, which are displayed at the exhibition’s moving canvases in conjunction with paintings, exposing more of the artist’s character.
Possibly one of Van Gogh’s most famous oils, The Bedroom (Third version: Arles, 1889) in which he uses striking colours to convey the message of simplicity of his own basic bedroom – an effortless concept.
This part of the exhibition pushes the boundaries further by commencing with Van Gogh’s completely empty room, then gradually building elements of the painting into the room, to convincingly create the final work.
I managed to capture only a short part of the creation in this video.
I wonder whether this is the process in which Van Gogh took whilst painting The Bedroom.
‘The way to know life is to love many things.’
Although the exhibition in Cosenza is not exactly the same as the exhibition’s official Trailer, you are still encompassed in the world or tragedy, darkness, helplessness that Van Gogh experienced and in turn, morphed into his paintings.
‘I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.’
The exhibition is not all dark, as Van Gogh used his trademark vibrant colours to portray another world and to create beauty for all to enjoy. A juxtaposition between his work and personal life.
Vincent van Gogh painted almost 900 paintings during the years between 1881 and 1890.
You can conclude that working at such a feverish pace caused his mental and physical stress. And also short of money, this pace left no time for Van Gogh to secure income from any other source but his art, and so he lived in poverty.
In one of the many letters to Theo, Van Gogh predicted that his work would be world-famous after his death.