Tomorrow will kick off the much-anticipated, immersive Van Gogh exhibit in the city, which is set to bring a unique perspective to the standard art museum experience.

Originally slated to begin in early June, the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit had to postpone its opening due to the number of COVID-19 cases and provincial public health restrictions at the time. The immersive art show will now have a shortened run, from July 30 to Aug. 29.

Since pushing back its opening date, the venue has also had to change from McMahon Stadium to the BMO Centre.

Sébastien Grenier-Cartier, partner and CEO at Normal Studio — the creative team behind Beyond Van Gogh — says the exhibit is a new but natural way for people to look at art. The exhibit is not meant to copy or recreate the traditional museum experience.

“I think we’re allowing users to step into the painting and really experience the art, the brushstrokes,” says Grenier-Cartier.

Over the past week, crews have been preparing the BMO Centre to take its audience into a space full of colour, life, and emotion.


The exhibit, which takes roughly a week to set up, will feature more than 300 paintings from Van Gogh’s collection, including his well-known and loved self-portraits, along with Starry Night and Sunflowers. 

In order to bring his work to life, editors and designers had to digitize, cut, adjust and digitally manipulate the pieces of art in order to allow for the immersive element. Through projectors and other technology different rooms will fully transform.

“You step into Starry Night and you’re not looking at it, you’re actually in it,” says Grenier-Cartier.

Allowing individuals to walk around — and through the art — allows people to explore van Gogh and his art through different lenses.

Beyond’s goal is to open a dialogue between the art and spectator, helping better understand who Van Gogh and what he went through in his life, says Grenier-Cartier. Part of that goal relies on the ability to hide the projectors and digital hardware.

“The objective is always to have the technology disappear and let the paintings speak for themselves.”

Beyond and its creators are excited to finally get to open its doors and this unique experience to Calgarians. 

The exhibit will have limited capacity to allow people to have proper room to roam around in order to safely enjoy the art-filled experience. 
Ticket prices do vary depending on the day, time, and level of experience. Purchase through the Beyond Van Gogh website.

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