Starry Night and Sunflowers in Australia: A multi-sensory Van Gogh exhibition is all set to debut in Sydney – art and culture

One of the most-visited multi-sensory experiences in the world, Van Gogh Alive is coming to Sydney this September. Starting September 18, Van Gogh Alive will exhibit over 3000 images of the Dutch painter’s artworks projected onto walls, columns and floors.

This project is the brainchild of Melbourne-based Grande Exhibitions. The company also owns and runs the Museo Leonardo da Vinci in Rome.

Scheduled to be held last year in November, the exhibition will take place this Spring in Sydney for the first time. It’s also expected to be shown at the Lume in Melbourne, which has postponed its opening until 2021.


Van Gogh Alive will feature large-scale projections of Vincent van Gogh’s most beloved and celebrated paintings that will move along with a soundtrack. Especially formulated aromas are said to be released to immerse visitors fully in this multi-sensory experience. The scale of the show is likely to cover one equivalent to those of 30 IMAX cinema screens.

Van Gogh Alive is more than just an art exhibition in the traditional sense. It is a multimedia art experience which combines high-definition image projections of Van Gogh’s paintings with digital surround sound. The exhibition, however, will not feature any physical work done by Vincent Van Gogh.

Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as well as a recent surge, the exhibition has shared relevant instructions to be followed by visitors. These include, mandatory masks to be worn while entering the venue — incase of masks not available, these can even be purchased at an additional cost.


Additionally, temperature checks are imperative “and will be conducted by our trained staff as visitors arrive before they enter Van Gogh Alive at The Royal Hall of Industries,” the Van Gogh Alive site’s notification reads.

A non-touch environment, hand sanitiser stations as well as timed entries with separate entry and exits to the venue are in place before the exhibition opens to the public.

Vincent Van Gogh, the Dutch post-impressionist painter, was known to have created many landscapes containing flowers such as lilacs, irises, sunflowers and roses, Cypress tress, orchards and gardens. Some of Van Gogh’s artwork reflect his interests in the usage of colour, as well as Ukiyo-e – a phrase that’s used to describe a school of Japanese art depicting everyday life.


The artist created around 2,100 artworks, including approximately 860 oil paintings on landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits.

Van Gogh was of the belief that the effect of colour went beyond the descriptive. “Colour expresses something in itself,” he said. Yellow meant the most to him as it symbolised emotional truth. The artist used yellow as a symbol for sunlight, life, as well as to portray God in his work.

Tree Roots, Van Gogh’s final painting, was recently discovered to have been painted at the spot where Van Gogh had shot himself, which took his life two days after this incident.

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