What better way to spend a wet Saturday afternoon in Belfast than to get some culture? Whether the last thing you painted was an oil based masterpiece in your Picasso themed spare room or just covering up those stubborn water stains on the kitchen ceiling from the leaky shower above, the Van Gogh immersive experience is a visual masterpiece that has been visited by over five million people world wide and has to be seen to be appreciated.
The setting was the Carlisle Memorial Church which is right beside the Westlink M2/M1 link. Parking was simple and warm clothes and comfortable shoes were the order of the day.
Upon entry to the church it was evident that a lot of work had been done to transform the old building into a modern art gallery and it was good to see locals employed as front of house.
Reproductions of classic Vincent Van Gogh paintings adorned the walls along with descriptions of his tragically short life and loves. Sunflowers mingled with the famous bandaged ear self portrait. Clever projections and audio displays led to a huge central room where every wall and even the floor was a moving screen of colour. The room was lined with deck chairs and blankets. Good call on the blankets.
The deep blues right through to the bright yellows were interspersed with animated lizards, fish and butterflies in an amazing assault on the senses. Accompanied by a relaxing audio soundtrack it would have been a temptation to drop off but then you would miss the constant stream of colour before you.
The final exhibit was a recreation of Van Goghs bedroom which had featured in several of his paintings. It was evident that the talented and colour blind Dutchman was a deeply troubled soul but it was this turmoiled mind that has brought the world multiple masterpieces that continue to sell for many millions the world over.
Verdict? Surreal, amazing and not to be missed.
Van Gogh-The Immersive Experience (Belfast) has been running from November and is fully wheelchair accessible.