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A chat with the director of new immersive van Gogh exhibit

5 minutes with Massimiliano Siccardi

It’s late afternoon in Rome and the director of the internationally acclaimed “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibit is tinkering. “We’re almost in total lockdown at this moment,” said the Italian multimedia guru. “I have a large picture of van Gogh behind me and I’m working a lot. There are always show adaptations for different cities like Vegas.”

“Immersive Van Gogh,” debuting July 1 at The Shops at Crystals, invites audiences to step inside the awe-inspiring and emotional works of post-impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh through art, light, music, movement and imagination. Assisting in that effort are 500,000 cubic feet of immersive projections including 60,000 frames of video and 90,000,000 pixels reflecting the artist’s catalog of 2,000-plus works.

Siccardi’s productions in Paris have been seen by over 2 million visitors. One of them recently was featured on Netflix’s “Emily in Paris.”

Sin City is the ninth location of the van Gogh show, which also has made stops in Toronto, San Francisco and Chicago.

Why was it important to bring the exhibit to Las Vegas?

Vegas was very important to me. It was actually a dream come true. It’s such a vibrant city with people from all over the world there. It’s great that this show will spend time in Vegas.

Do you have a favorite past Vegas moment?

I have a confession! Vegas is actually very interesting to me, but I have never been to Vegas. Some of my work has gone to Vegas over the years, but each time for one reason or another, I couldn’t be there with it. Hopefully, I will find time to fly over this July. We’ll see how it goes. I do feel as if I know Vegas. It’s like New York or Hollywood. I’ve seen so many movies about these places that I feel like I’ve been there.

What does the success of this show mean to you?

It has been a success, which makes me very happy, especially because it’s a very particular look at van Gogh’s work, plus also a look at Vincent as a man. He transformed the world with this art and gave us so many different perceptions of life.

Explain the immersive part of the show.

It’s what makes this feel special. By immersive, I am saying that people will have an experience that is quite their own. It’s interesting that you can have several people in the same place with other people. You share a space, safely. I love that I can see each person walking through having different reactions to the same work of art.

What is the endless appeal of Vincent van Gogh?

It’s a little bit of a paradox. Everyone was afraid of him when he was alive. They would say, “But he’s crazy!” But that’s also exactly why everyone loves him. We recognize little pieces of Vincent and his craziness in us.

What is the biggest challenge of creating this installation?

The biggest challenge for me is to make sure the audience member is completely immersed in the experience. But it’s not like a movie where you captured one point of view. In this case, a person can turn around and see so many other points of view. So the biggest challenge was creating a 360-degree view of van Gogh every minute. I had to make sure that every moment told a story, which required writing a script and then choosing images that belonged in that script.

Do you have a favorite painting?

Yes, it’s the portrait with the cut ear. If you look at his gaze in that work you can see he was a visionary. He was always looking forward. That’s also why van Gogh was not famous during his life. He was so advanced that people couldn’t understand him. He was a visionary. vangoghvegas.com

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