When asked why he wanted to become the honorary ambassador for “Van Gogh Inside: Festival of Light and Music,” actor Jang Keun-suk replied: “This exhibit, which uses media art to display van Gogh’s works, can be the catalyst through which art becomes more accessible to a wider public.” I thought the answer cliché and it seemed to me that no one in the world could make this well-known artist “more accessible.” First, I headed over to the “Nuenen” zone on the 1st floor, which felt more like entering a documentary film than an exhibition room. There were eight large screens instead of the original oil paintings. The letters van Gogh exchanged with his brother Theo, his life’s story and paintings were all displayed on the screen. The “Paris” zone, which is
in the center of the building, and the “Arles” zone, located in the room that was reserved for first- and second-class ticket holders, effectively use the interesting space at the Cultural Station. In the “Paris” zone the moving paintings are shown on the ceiling and arches and the former lounge is filled with large screens that surround the viewer with van Gogh’s life and pictures. The exhibition ends with the “Auvers-sur-Oise” zone on the 2nd floor, where works from right before van Gogh’s suicide and when he struggled with depression and anxiety after his release from the mental hospital in Saint-Rémy are all displayed in motion. Complete with lyrical music with the sounds of birds and the wind, the last zone allows you to focus on van Gogh’s art with all your other senses stimulated. After walking through these two floors, it’s easy to see why the exhibit is titled “Festival of Music and Light.” It is an immersive experience that heightens the experience of looking at van Gogh’s work. When you see the children fully engaged with this impressionist painter as they play around the exhibition, it’s clear that “more accessible” really just might be the correct phrase to describe this exhibit.