by Juliet Weatherstone
Designer Anna Cordingley’s newest exhibit “Van Gogh Alive” has arrived in Edinburgh’s Festival Square, for a four month stop on its UK tour. I went earlier this month with my two flatmates and found it to be a powerful experience, allowing you to step into the mind of the famous artist.
And until June 17, anyone in striking distance of the Scottish capital will have the chance to visit what’s being billed as the world’s most popular immersive multi-sensory gallery experience.
The travelling exhibit, which has visited 75 countries so far, has dazzled audiences in London, Manchester and Birmingham. And eight and a half million people around the world have felt its charms since it first opened its doors in Singapore in 2001.
The exhibition uses light, colour, sound and fragrance to bring Van Gogh’s famous paintings alive. For me it was very immersive, to the point where I sort of lost track of everything else and I’m really glad I went.
It was creator Anna Cordingley who came up with the idea for the “Sunflower Infinity Room” and the walk through the gallery, featuring the immersive recreation of many of Van Gogh’s most famous pieces, including his world renown, Starry Night.
Cordingley has won awards for her set and costume design, specialising in designs for various theatrics, including opera, dance, musical theatre and cabaret before stepping into the world of exhibition design.
Van Gogh Alive has multiple rooms for visitors to enjoy; an interpretative area, which allows you to gain important information about the artist, offering an education on his life and works. In the “SENSORY4” gallery, visitors are surrounded by screens and projections of Van Gogh’s most loved works, set to a classical score. Then there is his bedroom, a true to life representation of one of the artist’s most famous pieces.
The exhibit also offers an activity area, which encourages you to pick up a paintbrush and follow a tutorial to create your very own masterpiece. And there’s even offers a few photo ops, mainly in the “immersive sunflower room”, a mirrored room filled with life like sunflowers.
Tickets are available every day, at half hourly intervals, and cost £20 for an adult ticket. Concessions are available and if you get your ticket through the university, like I did, it will only cost you £5.