It was my first night in a ladies dormitory in Jeju Korea. Lights were already off except for a few bedside orange lamps, as I was scheming my next day's game plan, researching on things to do to maximize my one and only full day in the island. That was when I chanced upon the Van Gogh exhibit.
I know that Jeju is more popular for their Teddy Bear Museum or their many nature sites, but I got so excited when I realized that they also have a Van Gogh exhibit. I've been a fan of the Starry Night since high school!
Van Gogh Inside: Festival of Light and Music is located inside The Booyoung Jeju Hotel, a few minutes away from the Jungnum Resort. I took the cab coming from the Teddy Bear Museum, and only paid 2800 Won (Php 118). The exhibit is not permanent, and will only go on till April 17, 2017. I felt that I was there at the right time!
Booyoung turns out to be a big hotel in Jeju, I wonder how much a room costs here:
No tourists in sight, I asked the hotel staff till I reached the area for the exhibit. Entrance for adult tourists is 12,000 Won (or just Php 506) which I think is super worth it!
There were no tour guides or maps in sight, so I just went inside on my own with no pressures and expectations. Pathway was dim and dramatic, I tried to read a few lines from the literatures around me.
Then I entered a dark room with huge screens showing either Van Gogh's early works, or his major art influences like Japanese art or Paul Signac's Pointillism. It was a visual-virtual documentary of sorts.
The execution is super impressive and very intimate, let alone there were only about 5 of us going around the whole exhibit. There will be times when I was left alone in a room, with just Van Gogh's paintings eating me up alive.
Unexpectedly, the exhibit features different quirky sections, each room with their own "gimmick". I was half expecting to see just Van Gogh's paintings and maybe a few videos on his life in a theater-like room. But with Van Gogh Inside, everything seems like ART.
Van Gogh's Atelier is a very high tech room with pictures hanging on bare white walls, and iPads installed for every two frames. When you point the app on one of the photos, watch as it comes to life and becomes a Van Gogh painting! It's so nice, I had to do it in all the frames, hehe!
Palette of Light lets you create your own Van Gogh style art using acrylic sticks in different shades of blue and yellow. I was too lazy to come up with something, so I just took a photo of the last "artwork". Sayang looking through online photos now, the "painting" lights up pala and looks really beautiful!
The photo booth section will turn your photo into a Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, or a Paul Signac painting. Models for this section are Korean actors and actresses, I had to have one for myself! Hehe!
Although it felt awkward to take a photo when you're alone, I tried it and bought a wallet size copy of my Starry Night portrait (2000 Won or Php 84). Super nice keepsake.
The VR Zone allows you to live in Van Gogh's 1888 painting Night Cafe. Sobrang cool nito! While wearing the VR, you walk through Van Gogh's painting where I saw a number of familiar objects and people including Van Gogh himself.
The story of Van Gogh's life developed further as I moved on to the next rooms. It became, as expected, even darker. Along with the story, the lights also grew dimmer, the background music a little bit lonelier.
By the time I reached this section, which turns out to be the Starry Night in Arles, I finally saw what I was waiting for! The Starry Night and Almond Blossoms are my most favorite Van Gogh Paintings. The "Almond Blossoms" looks like a painting of cherry blossom trees during Spring time.
The paintings moved gracefully from one screen to the next, merging two paintings tastefully. I like this one! For Van Gogh, flowering trees represent awakening and hope.
Ahhhhhh. *insert heart emojis*!!!!! The Don Mclean song kept on playing inside my head by this time!
The last room, At the Wheat Field in Auvers, is a very dark section and how apt that I was left alone once again. I focused on the words on the screen, and the interchanging gloomy Van Gogh paintings moving along the lonely violin background music. Then a gunshot fired at a distance, which made my heart leap a little.
Vincent Van Gogh gave up on life.
Vincent Van Gogh gave up on life.
Although I knew fully well about this part of Van Gogh's story, I caught myself tear up a little.
The mystery of psychology and depression remains the same for me, and I guess that's why Van Gogh's paintings move me in a different way compared to other artworks. I felt raw emotions, they speak so loud even after centuries since the artist's death.
On a lighter note, the end part of the exhibit, of course, is a souvenir shop! And since it's a Van Gogh exhibit, the Van Gogh Inside Art Shop is HEAVEN to me. Took my time going around this tiny store, and can't help but splurge a little!
They have magnets:
Pouch and bag tags:
Van Gogh replica paintings and dream catchers:
Umbrellas, throw pillows, and eco bags:
Framed replicas, postcards, and bookmarks:
More framed painting replicas:
I took home the Starry Night and Almond Blossoms washi tapes and the Starry Night iPhone6 case, which I now consider some of my most prized possessions! Haha! I don't know how I'm going to end this post after letting you go through a series of mixed emotions (haha)! Suffice to say, it was just the tip of the day, and I was already in love with Jeju.
Do I have fellow Van Gogh fans here? :)