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Immersive exhibit at Newfields brings van Gogh up close

"When you walk in, you’re going to be completely surrounded by the works of van Gogh.”

INDIANAPOLIS — A new immersive exhibit featuring floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall projections of Vincent van Gogh’s work is on display at Newfields. 

“(THE) LUME is a fully immersive experience that is 30,000 square feet of projection space, so when you walk in, you’re going to be completely surrounded by the works of van Gogh,” said Deputy Director for Marketing and External Affairs at Newfields Jonathan Berger. 

The paintings are edited and sculpted to classical music. Berger said there’s even an earthy, floral scent throughout the exhibit to entice all the sense.

“What’s really important (about van Gogh) is how revolutionary he was,” said Annette Schlagenhauff, curator of European Art at Newfields. 

From the digital exhibit, one can see the differentiating brush strokes up close as well as “the thickness of the paint sometimes the thinness in other places,” Schlagenhauff added.  

With the impressionist’s paintings now in the public domain, immersive experiences are beginning to pop up throughout the country. But Berger said other experiences don’t have what Indianapolis offers. 

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“We sit on a 152-acre campus and my partner Jonathan Wright in horticulture did plantings based on van Gogh so you can see art on our walls and in our gardens as well,” said Berger. 

Accompanying the “permanent experience” are also featurettes, Berger said. 

“Those featurettes are about five minutes of up and coming artists that have done works inspired by van Gogh and we’re going to feature under represented artists to build those featurettes,” he added.  

Credit: WTHR
Part of the exhibit allows visitors to turn a selfie into a Van Gogh-style portrait.

There are also interactive elements which allow you to turn a selfie into a van Gogh-styled portrait. Another touchless interactive element allows you to zoom in on the brush strokes of his paintings.  

“This is a very entertaining way to get introduced to art,” said Berger.  

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“It allows people to focus on the brushstrokes through the digital experience and then have a renewed experience for seeing them in person,” said Schlagenhauff. At the end of the exhibit, visitors will be able to see a van Gogh painting up close. Alongside are paintings from Cezanne and Gaugin from the same region in France and the same time period.  

“They were the three titans,” said Schlagenhauff.  

Tickets for Newfields and THE LUME: van Gogh can be purchased here.