Van Gogh Alive Festival Square

A pop-up style tented venue in the forecourt of Edinburgh’s Festival Square is the venue for a new and exciting way to view art. In this case, the art is that of Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, whose work is now recognized and loved throughout the world, despite his having had scant recognition during his short and tragic life. One of his many quotes that grace some of the screens shows that this is a fact he sadly predicted in his lifetime.

The space is furnished with a series of large screens that host the 3000 projections of a timeline of Van Gogh’s iconic work and influences via SENSORY4™ immersive gallery technology, creating a veritable symphony of colour and movement. Some of the images have been discreetly but effectively animated, creating both surprise and delight.

From his early work to factors of his time that influenced his art, such as his living environment, nature, the introduction of the railway and the compelling draw of Japanese art, each stage is displayed. Seeing a painting in a gallery is one very special experience of course, but this method of display allows the renowned brushstrokes of Van Gogh to be seen in glorious, magnified form.

A classical score delivered via a high-fidelity 3D sound system accompanies the spectacle adding a soothing dimension the experience where Van Gogh’s harsh experience on this earth is not shied from. That said, this is a show suitable for all ages with the challenging realities of his life shown in such a way that small children would be oblivious to them. This was evident on the preview day when two very young children played with sunflowers, posing happily among the projections and in the facsimile of the artist’s iconic bedroom from his stay in Arles. Within this space, visitors can create their own souvenirs as the two wee lads in question demonstrated with charming ease! A 360° mirrored room complete containing thousands of sunflowers is another opportunity for selfies with interactive art stations and expert video tutorials on hand.

While this immersive show feels more static and somewhat lacking in the absolutely encompassing experience achieved in Ateliers des Lumières in Paris, it is nonetheless a stunning and very special event that will stay in the mind. The de rigeur merchandise shop awaits with treats at the end of the visit!

Van Gogh Alive, that is created and produced by Grande Experiences, welcomed over eight and a half million visitors in 75 cities around the world including its most recent sell-out runs in Greater Manchester, London and Birmingham and opens in Edinburgh’s Festival Square on 17th March and runs until 17th July 2022. 

A partnership agreed with Johnnie Walker Princes Street and Van Gogh Alive over the four-month period will ensure both venues benefit from the joint footfall and both Edinburgh residents and visitors enjoy the unique experiences both have to offer.

Tickets are available at www.vangoghaliveuk.com/edinburgh Terms and conditions have been updated so that you have 48 hrs before your visit to return or exchange your tickets for Covid reasons.

 £22/20 (concessions) for adults and £15 for children, with school group discounts available and Under 5’s are free of charge.

Irene Brown

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