Ready to Gogh

City selected as early stop for immersive exhibition of Dutch master's work


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Fresh off enormously successful stops in Montreal and Quebec City, Imagine Van Gogh is bringing its immersive sensory experience to the RBC Convention Centre. 

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/09/2020 (990 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Fresh off enormously successful stops in Montreal and Quebec City, Imagine Van Gogh is bringing its immersive sensory experience to the RBC Convention Centre. 

The exhibition premièred in Paris in 2017 and was created by designers Annabelle Mauger and Julien Baron. It weaves together multimedia — and the true life stories of two different men, artist Vincent Van Gogh and Cathédrale d’Images founder Albert Plécy — to create a grandiose experience of art, projection and music that has wowed millions of viewers throughout the world.

While it is the artwork of Van Gogh — the Dutch post-impressionist painter (1853-90) whose bold colours and expressive brushstokes influenced many who came after him — that is on display, it is Plécy’s concept of the “Image Totale” that inspired Mauger and Baron to create the immersive blend of sound and image. Plécy, a journalist and photographer, created the Cathédrale d’Images (now called Les Carrières de Lumières or Quarries of Lights) to project luminous images onto the stone walls, ceilings and floor of a former bauxite quarry in Provence, in southeast France.

laurence labat photos Visitors are invited to wander and explore amid enormous projections of more than 200 of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings.

Visitors are invited to wander and explore amid enormous projections of more than 200 of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings from the Arles period, the Saint-Rémy period and the Auvers-sur-Oise Period, including Sunflowers, Starry Night over the Rhône and Wheatfield with Crows. 

The exhibition is also set to music selected to contribute to the emotional depth of the art by classical composers including Handel, Mozart, Saint-Saëns and Prokofiev.

“We’ve been talking about this show for a number of years,” says Gilles Paquin, CEO and president of Paquin Entertainment Group. Paquin worked with Paul Dupont–Hébert, producer at the Quebec-based company Tandem to bring Imagine Van Gogh from Paris to Canada.

The COVID-19 pandemic put the feasibility of the exhibition in question, but with some creative thinking, the exhibition was able to move forward.

“If you go and see a concert and it’s only at 50 per cent (attendance), it’s not the real experience,” says Dupont–Hébert. “If you go and see a comic, you need a lot of people laughing around you. With this, the show is so wide, so big, so high, so to feel a little bit alone in that is like being in a dream.”

SUPPLIED The scale of the show makes it an ideal offering during the pandemic.

“There are very few things with this kind of mass appeal that you can actually do in these difficult times,” Paquin says. “Everything about Imagine Van Gogh fits for these times.”

Paquin says the exhibition is also great for families and children of any age and that Winnipeg is the perfect place to bring the exhibition after its success in Montreal, Quebec City and Paris.

He has plans for future stops throughout North America, but is thrilled to be bringing it to Winnipeg so early in the run.

“You’re looking for people who have a high degree of respect for art and Winnipeg has that,” says Paquin. “Whether it’s the ballet, the symphony, or RMTC, Winnipeg has a great culture of people who love art.”

Imagine Van Gogh runs at the RBC Convention Centre at 375 York Ave. from Sept. 24 to Oct. 31. Admission is free for children under four and tickets range from $31.50 to $81.38 plus taxes and fees. Tickets are on sale now at

SUPPLIED Imagine Van Gogh showcases the artwork of Vincent Van Gogh in a grandiose experience of art, projection and music.

Twitter: @franceskoncan

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Frances Koncan

Frances Koncan
Arts reporter

Frances Koncan (she/her) is a writer, theatre director, and failed musician of mixed Anishinaabe and Slovene descent. Originally from Couchiching First Nation, she is now based in Treaty 1 Territory right here in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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