Monday, July 13, 2020

The Van Gogh Picture Show in Toronto

The projection of works by the master Van Gogh fill the walls in what was once home of the printing presses for the Toronto Star at 1 Yonge Street. Now the empty space is being used for the immersive Van Gogh experience, split into two spaces - Gallery 1 for walk in viewing and Gallery 2 for a drive-in experience with 52 projectors showing 40 curated images from the catalogue of artist Vincent Van Gogh. The show continues to September 30, 2020.

Basic tickets are purchased by hourly time slot $45 weekend, $40 for a weekday slot. You enter from the main entrance on Yonge Street and exit out onto Queen's Quay and masks are required. The show takes 35 minutes and is on a loop and they let us in earlier than our start time, which probably happens when the show is not sold out. So if you arrive early, see if they will let you in.

The show is stunning. The designers highlight a section of each piece of art, isolated from the overall piece, and have animated portions of the painting. Everything moves and evolves, flashes and fades out in a continuous rotation around the entire, gigantic space. You can watch the sunrise and track across the sky. See a self-portrait with candles on Van Gogh's hat as the flames waver and come to life. You can watch from social distancing circle or climb the stairs to a central lookout for a great overall view.

Van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter who lived from 1852 to 1890 who started painting in his late 20's and cranked out most of his oil paintings in the last two years of his life. Famously the artist is the one that cut his ear off while battling mental illness and committed suicide at 37, poor and suffering from depression. His most known paintings included Starry Night, Sunflowers and his self-portraits. Swirling paint, bold colours and impressive brush strokes seem to be his style that brought him fame after his death. One of the pre-show info screens showed the only picture that he sold during his lifetime while in 1990 one of his works sold for over 100 million dollars.

From the producers, "Visitors will be immersed in Van Gogh’s works — from his sunny landscapes and night scenes, to his portraits and still life paintings. The installation includes the Mangeurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Eaters, 1885), the Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1889), Les Tournesols (Sunflowers, 1888), and La Chambre à coucher (The Bedroom, 1889). “Presenting cultural events during this time of COVID-19 is an incredible challenge and we are saddened to see the cultural calendar in Toronto diminished as almost all arts institutions have cancelled their events and laid off their artists and staff,” said co-producer Corey Ross. “We believe in the power of art to uplift, inspire and connect communities; and it is more important than ever to offer a creative outlet for Torontonians to escape and recharge during this unprecedented global crisis.”

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