Venturing beyond Vancouver, we found Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience in the heart of the Fraser Valley. Until March 5, 2023 Beyond Van Gogh at the Cloverdale Agriplex in Surrey puts visitors inside 300 of the Dutch painter’s artworks. The 30,000 square foot Agriplex has been transformed into a living, breathing gallery with the works of arts flowing into one another from floor to ceiling.
To begin the experience guests start by learning about the history of Vincent Van Gogh’s early life in the Education Room. Much of his tumultuous past is interpreted from letter between Vincent and his younger brother, Theo. As the walk-through exhibit transitions from reading to viewing, Beyond Van Gogh leads visitors into The Immersive Experience Room, which could also be called the Impressive Experience Room. Guests are dwarfed by the works of art projected all around, from underfoot to high above, the paintings transition from one to another like the fluttering of Almond Blossoms, or waves of Wheatfields. Colours ebb and flow from the darks of The Starry Night to the vibrant brilliance of Sunflowers. The artist’s many self-portraits tower above as he cheekily winks at viewers, perhaps surprised at the wonder his works produce 130+ years after his passing. It’s easy to lose track of time in The Immersive Experience Room as you try to take in every moment of the view. Standing or sitting in different spots of the room creates a different view as each space, wall, corner, floor, tower is filled with Van Gogh’s brilliant brush strokes.
Leaving the Immersive Experience Room, VIP ticket holders can experience Beyond Van Gogh A Life In Letters The VR Experience. Highly recommended, if you can splurge for the VIP ticket, the VR Experience takes viewers inside the mind as Vincent recounts his creative process through letters to Theo. Listening to his words as the 360 degree landscape within the VR viewer changes with the seasons and his moods; from black and white to brilliant shades and vibrant colours. There’s so much to take in from every direction, without leaving your seat you can spin to see the surroundings of where Vincent is working, look up to see how he interprets the sky, behind to the fields, across hills and up close at the butterflies fluttering past. Even though it’s likely only 10-12 minutes the VR experience feels like hours were spent with the Master, a snippet of his short life.
Leaving Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, it’s hard to believe an hour + has passed by as you exit through the gift shop, out into the Cloverdale Fairgrounds and back to real life.
Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience runs until March 5, 2023 at the Argiplex at Cloverdale Fairgrounds, 17798 62 Avenue, Surrey, BC. Timed-entry tickets are available online at vangoghsurrey.com, prices range from $28.99 for children 5-15 (free under 4), $41.99 for Adults and $83.99 for the VIP experience.