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Imagery at Multimedia Exhibition 'Beyond Van Gogh' Sweeps Across the Walls

Beyond Van Gogh Hawaii Convention Center
Noe Tanigawa

If you live on O‘ahu, you may be wondering whether to buy tickets to “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience,” the multimedia exhibition based on the work of impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. It's showing now at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. HPR's Noe Tanigawa offers a look inside the exhibit.

First of all, the artist's name Vincent Van Gogh has a Dutch pronunciation that sounds more like "van khokh." The name of the show is "Beyond Van Gogh"—Gogh pronounced "go," the Americanization.

Spoiler alert, you can move pretty quickly through the first two rooms of "Beyond Van Gogh."

Filled with panels of text, the rooms seem more of a crowd control mechanism. You'd be better off reading from your own hand-held copy of Vincent Van Gogh's collected letters, "Dear Theo."

The payoff is large, however, in the multimedia room.

"The light show was absolutely magical," said an attendee.

A widespread reaction to colorful images sweeping across the walls of a giant room, sending mottled shadows onto everyone there.

"I loved the colors, I loved the portraits, I loved how everybody interacted and felt with all lights shining on them and the music," they said.

Fanny Curtat, is an art historian, consultant to the creative team at Normal Studios, the producers of "Beyond Van Gogh."

"For me, it's about providing a different entry point to the art world, because I feel like a lot of people sometimes feel intimidated by art and by museums," Curtat said.

There are several multimedia productions based on Van Gogh's life touring the US right now. Curtat says, as with all exhibitions, the curatorial vision is paramount.

"And for us, it was the idea of going beyond the myth beyond sort of the darkness that accompanies his work and really just focus on the brightness of it. Just how alive and filled with beauty it is," she said. "We're a big believer in how important art is to Honolulu."

Bill Weeshoff is Senior Vice President and Marketing Communications Manager at First Hawaiian Bank. They are presenting "Beyond Van Gogh," as part of spreading awareness of the bank's digital presence.

"Van Gogh's work, from a digital and classic perspective, aligned nicely with what we were doing as a bank with some of our digital transformation efforts."

Beyond Van Gogh Hawaii Convention Center
Noe Tanigawa

There are no original Van Gogh paintings involved.

Over 300 digitized reproductions of Van Gogh paintings slide and bloom across the walls in the media room. They're grouped by themes: flowers, portraits huge and filled with humanity, his bedroom, the hayfield, and of course, "The Starry Night."

Van Gogh's paintings are suffused with a vitality that even moving images and sound do not quite equal.

"I encourage people to bridge the art world and experience this one, and go to a museum if they can and see the real thing one day," Curtat said.

A full cycle in the multimedia room lasts about half an hour.

Tickets run from $35 for adults off-peak to $45 over weekends. Youth under 15 range from $19 to $23. Children under 4 are free. There are student, senior and military discounts. Click here for more information.

Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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