Van Gogh The Immersive Experience | York Review

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Last Updated on November 13, 2021 by Suzy

We have visited a lot of attractions in York and I have to say that this is certainly very high up on my list of ‘must-do’s. The Van Gogh Immersive Experience was only supposed to be in York for a short while but it seems to now be a permanent experience.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience | York Review

The Van Gogh expo is located in the deconsecrated St. Mary’s church York which is right next to the Jorvik Viking centre. We combined the two and I was really pleased we did. When they say ‘immersive’ they really do mean it. It felt at times that we were actually sitting in a Van Gogh painting.

My Mum admitted she’s never been a fan of his work but she loved the experience as much as I did. My son had no clue who he was but loved it and as a past art student who studied his work I thought the whole experience was wonderful. The Van Gogh Expo is also coming to Leicester from the 7th February 2020.

*Disclaimer. We received complimentary tickets in exchange for an honest review

Van Gogh The Immersive Experience York Review

We recently took the 6-year-old to an art gallery for the very first time. He’s been to a lot of museums but never an art gallery. He was interested but he was clearly a little bored. He found the immersive Van Gogh experience anything but boring and he sat captivated in his seat throughout. Only moving every now and then to take a photo or point out something he found intriguing.

You enter via the main door of the church into a reception room where you can either pay for or show your ticket. You can purchase your tickets online in advance but it isn’t essential. There is then a large poster with a brief history of Vincent Van Gogh. You then enter through a curtain into the main church. The first thing we noticed was all the Van Gogh inspired deckchairs. They also have regular seating for those that struggle in and out of deckchairs.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience | York Review

Next, we started to take in what was essentially a visual delight. All the walls and even the floors had projections of artwork. We took a seat and immediately we were immersed in his work. It felt like, at times, that we were part of the ‘scenery’. There was a soundtrack that played along with the images which added to the experience. We entered the room during a ‘rainstorm’ and there were even lights on the floor to create the look of puddles. The film runs on a 35-minute loop so you don’t have to worry about missing any of it.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience | York Review

The projections aren’t static. The images move around the room and they left me wondering for the most part how on earth they did it. There are clearly at least 9 projectors, possibly more. The mind really did boggle as to how they put it together so well. The sounds matched perfectly with the scenes unfolding before our eyes.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience | York Review

Sometimes birds would seemingly fly around the room, paintings would ‘fold away’ to reveal more paintings. Some of his most famous artwork would be displayed on the walls as if in frames but what you were seeing was moving and being brought to life. Often a quote from the master himself would come up on the walls. What I hadn’t remembered was how young he was when he died. Trees wave, boats sail by, rainfalls and one of the highlights for me was a train seemingly entering the room.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience | York Review
Van Gogh Expo
Van Gogh Expo

Once you have watched the 35-minute film you can then look at a recreated room from one of his paintings. There is also another room with an animated vase of flowers, colouring for the kids which they can then project and a VR room at £3.00 each where you travel through Van Gogh’s France.

Van Gogh Expo
Van Gogh Expo

This is a 360 degree digital art experience that will interest and captivate young and old.

Important Information

  • The York Expo is in St Mary’s church next to Jorvik Viking centre
  • You can turn up on the day or pre-book online
  • If you turn up on the day please be aware that entry is limited and you may not be able to enter until there is room

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