I have finally experienced Van Gogh’s work as a form of love and resilience. The Beyond Van Gogh art exhibition in Miami was an experience I will cherish forever. It brought me to understand love, solitude, nature, color, sound, despair and joy in an entire different way. This immersive experience inspired me and I want to share it with you, as well as some of my findings during my research on this artist.
One of my favorite activities when traveling is discovering art. I had a recent life changing art experience I want to share here on Yoair. Travel is a beautiful way of expanding our knowledge of different topics and cultures. On my recent trip to Miami, I was able to book tickets for an exhibit I had been yearning to see for quite a while. The Beyond Van Gogh exhibit was one I will forever keep in my memories. This article could appear as a love letter at certain points. That is because it is. This art experience was a love experience. I experienced love towards art, towards my own senses and body, towards the people who surrounded me, towards nature, color, and the many phases that build life itself.
Van Gogh’s art and life have been taught around the world. However, the way his story is taught is full of melancholy and grief. Usually we remember him as the artist who cut his ear off. Yes, he did. Nonetheless, Beyond Van Gogh is the first time I can feel and see his art as a form of resilience and love instead of misery and pain.
Recommended article with a section on The Starry Night: https://www.yoair.com/blog/art-history-paintings-of-cultural-significance/
Van Gogh’s Biography
Van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853, in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands. His dad was a country minister and his mom was an artist. Although Vincent had five younger siblings, Theo van Gogh would be the only one mentioned in the exhibition. This is because Theo played an extremely important role in the artist’s life and career.
“At age 15, van Gogh’s family was struggling financially, and he was forced to leave school and go to work. He got a job at his Uncle Cornelis’ art dealership, Goupil & Cie., a firm of art dealers in The Hague. By this time, van Gogh was fluent in French, German and English, as well as his native Dutch.
In June of 1873, van Gogh was transferred to the Groupil Gallery in London. There, he fell in love with English culture. He visited art galleries in his spare time, and also became a fan of the writings of Dickens and George Eliot.
He also fell in love with his landlady’s daughter, Eugenie Loyer. When she rejected his marriage proposal, van Gogh suffered a breakdown. He threw away all his books except for the Bible, and devoted his life to God. He became angry with people at work, telling customers not to buy the “worthless art,” and was eventually fired.”
After these life episodes, Van Gogh tried several times to devote his life to church, but was denied for controversial or misleading behavior. For example, he wouldn’t learn latin. Such things led him to move to Brussels and become an artist in 1880.
Beyond Van Gogh in Miami
Three phrases from the Beyond Van Gogh art exhibit that perfectly describe it were:
- “To experience his work is to open oneself to immense joy and the boundless power of colour.”
- “To experience his work is to gaze into humanity itself.”
- “To experience his work is to give into colour.”
Beyond Van Gogh is currently happening at the Ice Palace Studios in Miami. Tickets are around 30 to 40 USD, depending on the age and status of the visitor. Hours of operation vary depending on the day and date. I will link the direct website for tickets below. If you are into yoga and wellness, they have these kinds of events as well, so be sure to look into details of the immersive experience. You can google all of this information.
I had seen the Immersive Van Gogh experience through social media for quite a while. Friends in Europe and the United States posted amazing Instagram stories where they appeared illuminated by Van Gogh’s artwork. I fell in love. However, I never thought I would be able to experience it myself. Fortunately, I found out the exhibit was occurring in Miami the dates I was visiting and I bought the tickets in advance.
This exhibition was stunning for two main reasons:
- There was a balanced mixture between different art forms that portrayed Van Gogh’s work and life in the best way possible. The scenery and light use gave you a mystical feeling as soon as you enter the exhibition. This was then highlighted by literature and the use of quotes to transmit Van Gogh’s biography to the visitors. Then, the use of visual animation, light and classical music combined, showed Van Gogh’s artwork in an unusual and brilliant manner.
- They shared the power and importance of Van Gogh’s paintings and art without his real paintings. There are none of his paintings hanging on the walls of the exhibition. Instead, all of his paintings are reflected on an entire room. The animations and transitions create a feeling of not only being a spectator to his work, but a part of it. You are truly immersed in his art.
- @milebroche at Beyond Van Gogh in Miami
The main room of the exhibition was completely illuminated by Van Gogh’s artwork. His work shown in four walls and a shared floor. His paintings exhibited through different transitions. This was the best movie I have ever seen. “The Starry Night” had always been my favorite. I saw it alive and well, back in 2019, in MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), but I couldn’t come too close and enjoy it as I would’ve liked. This experience was certainly groundbreaking when it comes to enjoying the art work of such a famous artist. The feeling of his paintings coming to life through brush strokes appearing on the walls made it all very realistic. I highlight this because, in a way, it was more like being part of the process of his paintings, and less like being a tourist who went to a museum. During the entire show, we got to see not only his famous oil paintings, but his sketches, portraits and hand written letters to his brother and supporter Theo Van Gogh.
The immersive experience became even more immersive when I saw the effect the the exhibition had on the people who attended. Two particular moments caught my attention. The first one was seeing my grandfather’s face staring at the projection. His eyes watered with emotion at the gaze of a modern revolutionary way to show historic art. Captured by Van Gogh’s life story, he took pictures of all the texts at the beginning of the show. Grandpa told me that all the messages behind it were truly worth keeping. He was right. The second one was seeing a young dancer perform. I was sitting in the room, observing the entire show, when a little girl was caught by the classical music and started dancing. Illuminated by the colors of the artist’s paintings. She performed what appeared to be modern dance. I was positively lost in between her movements, the projection of Van Gogh’s painting and the soundtrack. That was when I realized the power of art. The power of Van Gogh’s art. The power of young artists to reinterpret and reproduce Van Gogh’s art through new, modern artistic tools.
Van Goh’s Quotes
“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”
“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”
“I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’.”
“Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck, your profession is what you’re put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.”
Van Gogh’s Art
Vincent Van Gogh created his first art pieces between the years 1881-1883. His first works were mostly black and white sketches that portrayed plenty of detail, which would later on be recognized in his most famous pieces. He was an amateur artist, self-educated with books on themes such as anatomy and perspective. He gave great importance to shadow and light, as well as the human figure.
In 1881, Mauve, an art master, introduced Van Gogh to oil paintings and watercolors. Circumstance that is of huge value to his paintings, for the most famous ones are oil paintings precisely. The Hague, mentioned in the Beyond Van Gogh exhibition, was the artist’s residence in 1882 and 1883. There he was able to experiment his art and discover his full potential. Bulb Fields (1883) was one of the landscape paintings resulting from his stay in The Hague.
In the years 1884-1887 Vincent was a victim to loss. As I mentioned earlier, a romantic story that went wrong and his father’s passing made this year a struggle. He focused his art on the theme of rurality and agriculture. The Potato Eaters (1885) was one of the masterpieces he produced during this time. In 1886, Vincent moved to Paris with his brother Theo. There he was art educated next to prodigies like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and experienced the work of Monet, Renoir and other fantastic Impressionist artists.
Last Artwork and last years
In 1888 he moved to Arles, France. He created a lot of art. Portraits made a big part of his work during this time. This year was the one of the famous incidents. He welcomed artist Gaugin to his home. At first they were both co-living and working on their art in a good way. However, arguments began soon enough and during one of them, Van Gogh tried to cut Gaugin with a razor. He failed and in the midst of the fight, he cut his own ear. He ended up in an asylum, where his mental health kept getting worse, but his artwork became even better. His famous art piece, Irises (1889), was inspired by the garden of the asylum.
Van Gogh’s last days alive were his most productive days. He produced artwork that is nowadays the reason why most people recognize him. He used curved lines to show movement, one of his most characteristic traits. Vincent Van Gogh died 1890, at age 37, from a shot to the stomach. Recent studies show that his death could have been an accident, even though history has said he committed suicide.
To finish this article, there are three recommendations I have for you.
- If you have the opportunity to have an immersive experience anywhere in the world, don’t miss it!
- Listen to this wonderful playlist on Spotify
- Watch the following video of the immersive experience in Paris