For many, Fine Art is understood under limitations such as physicality and exclusivity. However, the Van Gogh Immersive Experience in 2021 breaks these boundaries and reinvents a new meaning of art through its immersive experience. The unique technology organized by the Exhibition Hub is being displayed in 22 cities allowing access to a broad array of audiences. This experience also comes to question the value that an authentic, century-old painting holds when it can be digitized and distributed in masses.
The exhibition guides you through a one-hour journey replicating Van-Gogh’s inspiration for eight of his most famous works. The exhibition includes several galleries that showcase the artist's paintings through floor-to-ceiling digital panels, creating an immersive effect. This unique transformation of painting to high-quality digital presentation drove Van Gogh to be the hottest artist of the post-quarantine 2021 era, whose work is initiating one of the largest organized art phenomena across the world. During his time, Van Gogh would never have imagined such a mutation of his work. The immersive technology allows the viewer to see the artwork in a way that is modern.
Digitization of paintings holds a controversial position in whether it preserves or demolishes the cultural value of a piece of art. On one hand, high-quality digital versions of Van Gogh’s paintings are increasing his fame and creating more awareness of his art practice as well as who he was as an artist. Retrospectively, viewing an original painting that was touched by the hands of its artists is an experience on its own and many can argue that the exclusivity of access to such paintings is what drives the cultural value. Also, the meaning behind an artwork lies primarily in the artist’s perspective and Van Gogh definitely did not intend for his work to be displayed like this.
Annabelle Mauger, who created one of the very first Van Gogh exhibitions in 2008, explains that the immersive experiences are not meant to complement the work, nor take away from it. They are simply providing another form of access to the world-famous artists' practice. Especially for the purpose of introducing art to young children who can’t stand walking around museums for hours, the immersive experience is extremely beneficial. Through this perspective, the immersive experiences are actually contributing to an increase in art culture by providing easier access to fine art.