Van Gogh comes alive in Salford with ‘multi-sensory’ experience

The ‘Van Gogh Alive’ experience has touched down at The Piazza in Salford Quays after already dazzling over eight million visitors worldwide.

The ticketed experience offers the chance to ‘immerse yourself in the life and works of Vincent Van Gogh’, and will run until 23 January 2022.

It has been one of the most anticipated attractions in Greater Manchester this year after already touring around 75 cities.

Credit: Paul Sherlock

The purpose-built venue in Salford Quays is host to ‘SENSORY4™ immersive technology’, taking you on a journey through the Netherlands, Arles, Saint Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise, where Gogh created many of his timeless masterpieces.

Displaying over 3000 images, the technology transforms every surface with projectors to make visitors feel like they have truly stepped inside a Gogh painting.

Credit: David McLenachan

His ‘Bedroom in Arles’ painting has also been recreated into a 3D sculpture where you can take a photograph, as well as a bright sunflower room.

Paul Sherlock, our Salford reporter, went along to the experience and said: “Marilyn and I really enjoyed our visit to Van Gogh Alive at Media City.

“It was truly an immersive experience, starting with the opportunity to appear in his simulated bedroom, as it appears in ‘Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles’ in the initial exhibition area until we exited the main auditorium via a mirrored gallery of sunflowers.

“In the main area of the portable building itself we were surrounded by screens where Vincent’s images were dynamically projected to the accompaniment of high-quality surround sound playing music that was fully synchronised with the mood of the images.

“The pictures themselves took on a life of their own; not just flat projections but moving in three dimensions with changing perspective, yet without losing the authenticity of the original artistic creation.

Marilyn, Paul’s wife. Credit: Paul Sherlock

“At one time, a railway train moved around the room from screen to screen and in another scene blossom showered down from an Almond Tree. Along with his paintings, quotes from him were projected onto screens and they helped you to sense the at times profound and yet tortured feelings that he experienced in his relatively short life.

“Marilyn said to me that she felt moved and saddened, as she was able to share something of his state of mind.

“As Vincent himself said, ‘Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul’. This experience somehow helped to intensify that vitality within our experience.”

Tickets and accessibility

The experience lasts around 60 to 90 minutes and tickets cost £23.50 for adults, £21.50 for concession and £16.50 for children aged five to 16.

Children under five go free and the venue is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. People accompanying concessions go free.

Credit: Paul Sherlock

Van Gogh Alive is supporting The Christie Charity and will be raising funds for them through ticket purchases.

Visitors will have the opportunity to donate while purchasing theirs to help support The Christie’s work in cancer care and research.

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