Van Gogh Alive, Moscow: Inside A Painting

A vase of bright yellow sunflowers flashes by only to be replaced by a starry night so bright I have to narrow my eyes. I reach toward the sky when, suddenly, a loud shot sounds in the distance and a million crows descend upon me. And then I see nothing.

No, this article isn’t about me tripping on ‘shrooms in Thailand. Believe it or not, it’s about a very different kind of trip – my visit of an experimental art exhibition. “Van Gogh Alive” is an art show, which transforms you from an anonymous spectator into an active participant in the Dutch painter’s vibrant universe.


The concept is simple – van Gogh’s paintings are projected onto the walls and the floor in an enclosed space, along with emotionally-charged music and chilling sound effects. You are taken on a journey through the painter’s life, step by step, year by year, painting by painting. And it is one heck of a wild ride!

Vincent van Gogh was the epitome of the struggling, troubled artist – his life was an absinthe-fulled whirlwind of mental disorder and creative genius. No one is quite sure what was the root of his troubles, but different psychiatrists have identified schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, syphilis, temporal lobe epilepsy and porphyria as potential culprits.

His ill health drove van Gogh to committing outlandish acts – he famously cut his left ear off, before sending it to a local prostitute. I think that adds a whole new dimension to being a hopeless romantic.

When he wasn’t drinking paint, severing parts of his body or writing letters to his friends and family, van Gogh dedicated the majority of his time to his craft. Despite having to cope with severe mental illness and killing himself aged 37, he was able to produce more than 2,000 works of art. Two thousand! If he started painting the second he came out of the womb – which he, most likely, did not – he would have had to churn out more than fifty canvases every year. What a badass.

The “Van Gogh Alive” exhibition is currently underway in several cities around the world, including Istanbul, Singapore, Milan and – obviously – Moscow.

General Information

Entry fee: 450 roubles (350 roubles for students)
Opening times: 11am-9pm
Address: Нижняя сыромятническая улица 10, Москва / Nizhnyaya syromyantnicheskaya ulitsa 10, Moscow

The exhibition is open till 26th March 2014, so hurry up & check it out!