Lonely Planet Writer

See Van Gogh’s paintings brought to life with holograms in Tokyo

A futuristic art exhibition in Tokyo has brought Van Gogh’s work to life through a unique use of holograms, CGI and digital projection technology.

Opened by visual effects studio, Das Muse Media, at the Aoyama Center Building in Minato-ku, central Tokyo, the exhibition is called “Dear My Friend, Vincent Van Gogh” and features an immersive, interactive experience divided up into eight different sections that tell the story of the artist’s life and work. Topics and themes covered across the areas include Van Gogh’s time spent in Paris, as well as at the famous Yellow House in Arles and his personal battles with mental illness. One area is also dedicated to the 3D mapping and projection of his sunflowers series. The exhibition includes a photo booth that enables visitors to step into a piece of art and take a photo as a keepsake.

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The installation features over 900 digitised works, shown on screens set up across the venue. The paintings come to life through the use of CGI rendering, with stars that twinkle in “The Starry Night”, flower petals that float from a tree branch in “Almond Blossom” and self-portraits of Van Gogh that blink and breathe. One end of the display features a hologram of Van Gogh’s friend and postman Joseph Roulin, who talks to guests about the artist’s life.

The project follows another multi-sensory exhibition on the life of Vincent Van Gogh that is touring the world at the moment, and is currently set up in Bologna. Called “Van Gogh Alive”, it utilises over 50 high-definition projectors and screens, as well as multi-channel surround-sound systems to create a dynamic and engaging show for visitors.  The show features over 3000 images that are on display in hyper-fine detail, with special attention paid to the distinct and bold brushstrokes that defined Van Gogh’s style.

Plans are currently in place for the Dear My Friend, Vincent Van Gogh exhibition to be brought to Yamanashi Prefecture next year following its completion in Tokyo. The exhibition is currently open daily until 17 September and general entry costs ¥1600.

More information on visiting the exhibition is available at the official website.