Beyond Van Gogh at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

 This exhibition uses large projectors and screens to create an immersion into Van Gogh's work.  The images fill huge screens and splash across the floor.  The images change with subtle movements:  a portrait of the artist with a pipe has delicate rising curls of smoke; a piece with cherry blossoms slowly changes to fill the screen with blowing blossoms; "Starry Night" swirls with the unquiet energy the painting expresses. The paintings chosen are a good representation of Van Gogh's work - from his many portraits to his brilliant interiors to his scenes of poor, such as "The Potato Eaters" to the charming landscapes of Arles.  

The experience does enhance an appreciation of his work!  All of Van Gogh's works are on small canvases.  "Starry Night", for example, is only 2-5' X 3'.  Van Gogh didn't blend colors, but instead, used short brush strokes of many colors to create his painting.  Beyond Van Gogh, allows the viewer to enjoy the pieces by magnifying the scale.  The complex colored brushstrokes of red, brown, yellow and even green are visible in Van Gogh's most famous self portrait.

The exhibit begins with a chronology that focuses on his famously close relationship with his brother.  Most of Van Gogh's life journey is told through excerpts from his letters from or to Theo.  The immersion experience takes place in a large room with a few benches.  Most people stood to move around the space.  The walls are showing different projections of his painting or short quotes.  There is a very small amount of narration with voices reading some of the quotes in French or Dutch.  The vivid colors were very beautiful.

The most interesting quote was from David Hockney, who believed Van Gogh was a master of space.  I think Hockney is a master of space, so his remark did make me think about how Van Gogh represents the spatial element.  The saddest quote was from Van Gogh himself who marveled at the achievements of Delacroix and had to remind himself that he too had something to say through his art.  It is sad to see such self doubt.  Of course, Van Gogh was not a great success in his time.

My only complaint is that I would have preferred a sound track of music from Van Gogh's era.  He lived in Paris during a very vibrant period of music, both popular and classical. 

Parking is $10 and the lot is right next to the auditorium.  The timed ticket is $36.  I spent an hour.  I thought it was a good value for this unique experience.  I think this type of experience would work for many other artists.

                                                        This captures the animated blossoms moving across


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