Posted by: bluesyemre | April 6, 2012

Van Gogh Alive Istanbul


  • Many of Van Gogh’s paintings have unfortunately suffered the same kind of overexposure that has been the fate of the “To be or not to be” speech from Hamlet, the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, or Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa.” However much you may admire “Starry Night” or “Sunflowers,” it’s foolish to imagine you could ever have the same response to them on the hundredth viewing as on the first. The reviewer is embarrassed to admit that he once had, not one, but two Van Gogh posters (“Sunflowers” and “Cafe Terrace at Night”) on the walls of his apartment at the same time, thus joining the ranks of those for whom the works of this famously tormented artist have become icons of complacent familiarity. The aim of Van Gogh Alive, at Antrepo 3 in Tophane, is to shake us out of such complacency. In this dark, cavernous space (the venue for last year’s 12th Istanbul Biennial, along with neighboring Antrepo 5), 3,000 images created from 1,000 Van Gogh works (paintings, watercolors, and drawings) are projected onto the four walls, columns, and floor through a system of 40 HD projectors known as Sensory 4. Seeing these works (or portions of them) on screens nearly 25 feet high not only is a startling experience, but also allows you to focus in great detail on paintings you may have only seen before in miniature on the pages of an art history textbook. A classical soundtrack runs in sync with the projected images, with pieces by Handel, Lalo, Saint-Saëns, Arvo Pärt, and more, in addition to traditional Japanese koto music.

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