15 June 2016
‘Meet Vincent van Gogh’ was launched in Beijing earlier today. This travelling 3D Experience invites visitors to journey through the fascinating life of Vincent van Gogh, based on the knowledge and expertise of the Van Gogh Museum.
The Experience offers a dramatic and tangible immersion into the story of the man behind the world-famous artist and places Van Gogh in the context of his time. Meet Vincent van Gogh also examines the motives of his artistry: to offer hope and to depict both the dominant emotions of human existence, in all their cruelty and mystery, as well as beauty.
Axel Rüger (Director of the Van Gogh Museum): ‘With Meet Vincent van Gogh, we support our mission to make the life of Van Gogh and his contemporaries, as well as the art of his time, accessible to millions of people all over the world. This new concept makes it possible for the Van Gogh Museum to offer the same Van Gogh experience simultaneously at multiple places in multiple countries. Van Gogh is hugely popular in China, and that’s why I’m proud that it is China that is hosting this world first Experience’.
Two sets of Meet Vincent van Gogh will travel around China for the coming five years. The Experience will make its debut in Beijing, where it will remain until 16 September 2016. In mid-August, the second set will open in Macao and in mid-November, the first set will travel onwards to Shanghai.
Experience, discover and try for yourself
Visitors to Meet Vincent van Gogh, launched today, journey through the intriguing life of Van Gogh, guided by life-sized projections of works, photographs and film fragments, detailed reproductions, multimedia interactives and applications, theatrical pieces of scenery, audiovisual scenes, and quotes taken from the more than 800 surviving letters sent and received by Vincent.
The audio tour brings numerous figures to life: Vincent van Gogh himself, his brother Theo, his sister-in-law Jo Bonger, his mother, and other key players. Surrounded by lifelike theatrical pieces of scenery from locations including the Parisian cafe Le Tambourin, the institution in St. Remy to which Van Gogh was admitted for a period of time, and the Yellow House in Arles, visitors are transported to key locations in Vincent’s life.
The attention to detail in Meet Vincent van Gogh is tremendous: the reproductions of Van Gogh’s palette and other materials are true to life. Visitors can use a perspective frame just like Vincent’s. Even the famous pair of shoes depicted in one of his renowned works has been faithfully reproduced.
Rüger: ‘Meet Vincent van Gogh is primarily focused on visitors experiencing, discovering and trying things for themselves. On doing as Vincent did, the visitor gets closer to the life story and the world of this acclaimed artist. For example, in the opening scene, visitors find themselves in the middle of the wheatfield where Vincent fatally wounded himself. They are alarmed by the pistol shot ringing out, see crows flutter into the sky, feel the Provençal breeze and hear the voice of Van Gogh quoting from one of his final letters to Theo. The visitor becomes an integral part of this lifelike scene.’
Knowledge and expertise
Rüger: ‘Meet Vincent van Gogh is the only official Van Gogh Experience created by the Van Gogh Museum. Compared to other travelling initiatives focused on Van Gogh, Meet Vincent van Gogh goes a step further. It is a complete Experience in which education and entertainment go hand in hand. It is a journey through his life in six chapters, based on the extensive knowledge and expertise of the Van Gogh Museum’s curators and Education Department’.
Rüger: ‘In China, interest in Van Gogh is enormous, but only a limited number of Chinese people are actually in the position to visit our museum in Amsterdam. Our collection is also vulnerable, and transport options are limited.
Meet Vincent van Gogh offers us a fantastic opportunity to explore a new approach to presenting the life and work of Van Gogh, and in doing so, respond to the ever-growing worldwide interest in Vincent’s life and work.
In addition to the sustained interest in Van Gogh expressed by culture enthusiasts in China since 2006, China has been a priority for the Dutch government’s cultural policy. The stimulus offered by the governments of both countries for cultural collaboration provides additionally fertile ground upon which to launch Meet Vincent van Gogh in China.’
Entrepreneurship in the cultural sector
The Van Gogh Museum generates more than 85% of its income, relying on ticket sales, commercial activities and collaborations with various companies, private individuals, funds and foundations.
In the current financial climate, it is apt that the museum extends its efforts to include new concepts. The museum endeavours to strike the correct balance between core museological activities on the one hand and commercial initiatives on the other.
The introduction of Meet Vincent van Gogh is in line with the desire expressed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science for museums to increase the amount of income they generate themselves.
The Van Gogh Museum developed Meet Vincent van Gogh in collaboration with ArtComm Ltd., an experienced partner in the field of travelling initiatives, such as Body Worlds, Pixar: 25 Years of Animation, The Art of the Brick and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.
For more information about the people involved with Meet Vincent van Gogh, read the biographies.
The design of Meet Vincent van Gogh was developed in collaboration with Event Communication, and Fiction Factory developed the set work.
The audiovisual applications were created in collaboration with Rapenburg Plaza, and Elbow is responsible for the video elements of the Experience.
The brand, the visual identity and campaign material were developed by Dewynthers. A licence agreement has been signed with sole Chinese licensee and local promotor Wai Chun Culture.