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Van Gogh, ‘Starry Night’
Van Gogh, ‘Starry Night’. Image: Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Show’ opens next week

It’s been hyped and trailed and kept secret and all sorts. Now you can go check it out…

Written by
Chris Waywell

In what’s been an ongoing art saga of 2020-21, ‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’ is finally ready to open its oh-so-secret doors to visitors.

Previously, we told you about how two huge, Instagrammable Van Gogh shows are opening in the capital this year, following another huge, Instagrammable Van Gogh show that got finished off by Covid even before it opened. The first one, ‘Van Gogh Alive’, arrived in Kensington Gardens in June (book tickets here)

‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’
Image: ‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’

The second one has been much more elusive – a bit like the artist himself. Although ‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’ promised 20,000 square feet of artworks for you to stand in and take selfies, where this was all supposed to be happening was not dsiclosed, so visitors were pretty much left in the dark.  

Now, though, after the setting for ’Starry Night’ and the rest was unveiled – a Victorian industrial building on Commercial Street near Spitalfields Market – and tickets went on sale, the show is finally opening. You can go and stand in a huge space amid sunflowers, blossom trees, a quaint bedroom and some very depressed-looking people eating potatoes.

The two venues are very different settings for Van Gogh’s works, but maybe that’s fitting for an artist who spent his life around grimy working environments, poor and unrecognised, but who in death has paintings hanging in the most exclusive galleries and collections in the world.

Hotel Café Royal
Photograph: Hotel Café Royal

On which tip, if you really want to fancy-up your Van Gogh London day out, the Hotel Café Royal has launched a frankly bananas-sounding Van Gogh Afternoon Tea (above), riffing on the big man’s art. Delicacies include crab and dill on lemon bread, inspired by the 1887 work ‘Two Crabs’, a sunflower-seed praline with salted caramel, derived from ‘A Vase with Twelve Sunflowers’, ‘The Starry Night’ (pink-grapefruit compote, orange marmalade) and a pecan crunchy coffee mousse and taro sponge ‘Van Gogh Self-Portrait’, served on its own easel. Whew! Can you have too much of a good thing? only one way to find out…

‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’, 106 Commercial St, E1 6LZ, Jul 29-Feb 2022. Tickets from £19.90 (adult), available here.

‘Van Gogh Alive’, Kensington Gardens, Jun 4-Sep 26. Tickets from £24 (adult) on sale here.

Van Gogh Afternoon Tea, Hotel Café Royal, £65 per person (£75 with champagne – why not?). Details here.

Like novelty grub? This Monopoly-themed restaurant will be right up your street (street, yeah?)

The London art shows we can’t wait to see opening.

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