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Van Gogh exhibit ‘immersive’ experience

Van Gogh exhibit ‘immersive’ experience
Van Gogh exhibit ‘immersive’ experience
Dr. Wayne Willis

It was billed as an “immersive” experience. I grew up in an immersionist church. We believed that real baptism plunges, dunks, buries one beneath water, as sprinkling does not. That word caught my eye.

It was indeed immersive and breathtaking. It was everything you wanted to know about Vincent Van Gogh, made possible by advanced digital technology that moves 300 of his works slowly around you and beneath you for 37 minutes. Some visitors sat. Some danced. Some stood, gazing at a wall. I walked around. Some made selfies. Fascinated, playful children ran and jumped with glee.

It was one of the most inspirational experiences of my life. I felt at one with Van Gogh’s body of work, and with him. I was mesmerized.

Van Gogh was a troubled soul. He wrote, “What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.”

Again, “A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.”

Van Gogh had his creative breakthrough in his final two years, after moving to southern France. He sold only one painting before he died, “The Red Vineyard,” for about $400. Today, he may be the world’s most popular artist. Some of his paintings are valued at over $100 million.

Pull up “The Starry Night” or “Sunflowers” on the internet to see why. Or, you can be baptized in “Beyond Van Gogh” at Louisville International Convention Center through Sept. 3.