As what this blog post title suggests, I’ve been to Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience twice! While I was in London last year, I knew I had to check this out, but little did I know it would also come to Singapore in 2023! I couldn’t resist the temptation to go once more — in my home city! I really enjoyed the experience as a whole, and below I share photos and my review of Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience at both locations.
The Singapore edition of Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience had its run from March to October 2023, while the London edition has been running for over a year! I loved the location in Singapore at The Forum in Resorts World Sentosa, it was big and spacious. The London edition was at an industrial-style building in Spitalfields, and so I took the time to explore the area a bit too!
Get to Know Van Gogh
I love that the experience starts off with a collection of Van Gogh’s self-portraits, enlarged in equal size on these black banners. Van Gogh’s famous self-portraits in public museums were featured alongside some in private collections, which I thought were a nice inclusion!
The next section is all about getting to know more about Van Gogh. There’s a good mix of digital elements, replicas of Van Gogh’s paintings (no real works on site!), and wall panels sharing more information about his life and work. An exhibit of a life-size white vase is part of a digital projection that features the different flower paintings that Van Gogh made, which was pretty fun!
This was a fun real-life set-up of Van Gogh’s painting Bedroom in Arles. As the wall panel explains, Van Gogh made three versions of his bedroom in the famed ‘Yellow House’. Van Gogh had painted the first / original Bedroom in Arles in October 1888, now in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. The two latter versions were made the following year in 1889, and are now in the Art Institute of Chicago and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
Looking at the set-up in the London immersive experience (pictured above), I think they were imitating the second version of Bedroom in Arles in the Art Institute of Chicago, with the similar colours and portraits on the wall! But this area was barred off, so unfortunately I couldn’t take a photo inside. The Singapore edition made the Bedroom a photo spot though!
The Immersive Experience
The star of the show is really the immersive experience itself, with so many of Van Gogh’s paintings brought to life and animated across the entire room. I liked how each painting was accompanied by its title and year of its making, if you care for the details like I do! There are also some quotes from Van Gogh’s letters, set along to a somewhat dramatic soundtrack.
I loved that the immersive experience included images of Tree Roots, which was the last painting that Van Gogh made. I remember following the art news (during the circuit breaker in May 2020!) that the location of these Tree Roots was newly discovered in Auvers-sur-Oise, France through a postcard photograph! As it was, Van Gogh lived in Auvers-sur-Oise back in 1890, and brought his colourful vision to the tree roots, which still look largely the same even today.
The immersive experience is about twenty minutes long, which is so worth the value! I beelined straight for the deck chairs because I loved lying back and staring up at the art on the screens, and it’s such a novel way of looking at art!! Although on second thought, I should have also tried parking myself on the sofas in the Singapore experience, as all of the furniture was sponsored by Castlery!
Because the immersive experience room in Singapore was so spacious and comfortable, I must say that I enjoyed it much more than the London edition, which had a smaller room. The room was very packed and so it was also difficult to get clear pictures!
Japonisme Room in Singapore
It felt extra special that the Singapore edition also included a japonisme room! This was not available in London, and I wonder if the other stops in Asia also have this. Van Gogh famously drew inspiration from Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, like those by Hiroshige in particular. This japonisme room highlighted works from Chinese and Japanese art, as well as works by Van Gogh’s contemporaries, such as Gustav Klimt. The tea brand Matchaya also provided free samples of green tea, which I thought was such a nice touch!
Paint with Vincent
At the end, you can colour your own version of Van Gogh’s masterpieces, display it on the wall, and even project it digitally!
One more photo spot in the Sunflower Room in the Singapore edition before leaving!
Cafe and Merchandise Shop
I loved how the cafe and shop (in Singapore) was so well decked out and on-theme!
Some final thoughts: I really enjoyed seeing Van Gogh’s art in this new, immersive experience! I’ve heard some critique that this might not be a ‘purist’ way of looking at art, and at times the animated artworks in the immersive experience also took on ‘creative license’. But I’m of the view that it’s fun, engaging, and brings awareness to more of Van Gogh’s artworks — whether for old favourites or other less familiar ones.
Another note is the surprising difference in price: In Singapore an adult ticket cost SGD$24, while in London an adult ticket cost £19.90 (not inclusive of booking fees via the Fever app), which is quite a steep difference!
In any case, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience was fun enough to go twice! It’s exciting to see the experience continue its world tour, check out their website to see if it’s coming to your city!