Seoul: Van Gogh Without the Oil

Posted by on Mar 25, 2016 in Korea, Travel Photo Thursday | 19 comments

It’s week 270 (3/24/2016) here at Travel Photo Thursday. Thanks for being here, and join me on my Seoul tour of Van Gogh without the oil.

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Okay, Van Gogh without the oil is my take on this exhibit. The official name of the exhibit is Van Gogh Inside: Festival of Light and Music. The exhibit at the former Seoul train station, Culture Station Seoul 284, is billed as featuring many of the Van Gogh’s masterpieces, along with other notable impressionist artists of the era. 


Seoul Train Station (Museum)



I was a bit apprehensive about visiting this exhibit on a Sunday. Although I don’t personally feel that the majority of young kids, including babes in arms, would enjoy this type of exhibit for more than about three minutes, it’s common here for the entire family to make it a days outing on a Saturday or Sunday. The crowds can get a wee bit wild and wooly. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. Although busy, it was manageable. After purchasing my 15,000 Won ticket, I entered the “Nuenen” zone on the first floor, and quickly realized that this wasn’t your typical art exhibit. Instead of original oil painting hanging on the walls, I found myself in an exhibit room with eight large multimedia screens. Here, the letters that Van Gogh had shared with his brother Theo, and his many paintings were shared across the screens.


Nuenen Zone Van Gogh Festival of Light and Music


Next, it was off to the Paris, the lounge area of Seoul’s former train station. The ceiling and the arches are filled with moving pictures of Van Gogh’s life and paintings, literally surrounding visitors with the famous artist.


Van Gogh Portraits, Van Gogh Festival of Music and Light

Paris Room, Van Gogh Festival of Music and Light

Paris Room, Van Gogh Festival of Light and Music


The exhibition ends on the second floor in the “Auvers-sur-Oise” zone, featuring works painted right before his suicide, set in motion and complete with sounds of birds, wind and lyrical music.  The lighting in this room did not make for great photos. I did take a video, which turned out really badly. However, all is not lost! This short clip that I found on Youtube will take you there!



This is the most interactive art exhibit that I have ever experienced. I liked it, and so did the kids, who usually zone out within 3 seconds. Although I do have to say, I kept expecting to turn a corner and find myself lost in Van Gogh’s original oils.

If you’re visiting Seoul, Van Gogh Inside  continues until April 17th. Location and hours. 


Please welcome our co-hosts this week: Jan from Budget Travel Talk Ruth from Tanama Tales  Rachel from Rachel’s Ruminations


You can browse the Travel Photo Thursday archives here.


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  1. Wow this looks like an amazing exhibit. And in todays technological world, a fabulous way to bring art to the people in a new way. Amazing.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

    • Hi Jill! I had no idea what to expect. I read a brief blurb about the exhibition, but never realized that it was so high tech. It was a lot of fun. I can see these kind of exhibits becoming popular. I think that they must be a lot cheaper to produce and set-up than your traditional art show. A lot more people might be lured through the doors because of the high tech aspect, and end up becoming art lovers 🙂

  2. This looks like a great exhibit. I’m already a Van Gogh fan but this takes it to another level. I’m pretty sure my kids would like it too. Love this!

    • Hi Mary. I can see your kids enjoying this. There was a place at the end of the exhibit open to kids to use ipads. I’m not quite sure what that was all about. When I passed by it was super busy, and I wasn’t able to get close enough to really see what was happening. However, the kids did look engaged!

  3. It feels great to take a look at an actual masterpiece but I think I would have enjoyed this type of exhibition. It is something different and eye catching. Last fall when I visited Bilbao, there was an exhibition where you were able to touch the paintings (copies of course). There was a video next to them directing you how to move thru the painted scene. That was interestign!

    • Hi Ruth. That would have been interesting. This exhibit had a very small area with photos on the walls. There was a caption that said VanGogh took photos of many of the thing he painted (that surprised me!). Visitors pointed an ipad at each photo and it transformed the photo into the VanGogh painting that was based on that photo.

  4. This is an amazing concept of exhibiting life and work of great Van Gogh in digital format. A nice way to introduce art to children and uninitiated in art appreciation.

    • Hi Bushra. I agree! I can see a lot of kids and adults becoming art lovers through this media.

  5. This is not what I would have expected from an art exhibit, but it’s a wonderful take on traditional displays. I think that even my kids might be captivated by it. I especially like how they projected his work onto the arched ceiling, and I wonder how much they customize the exhibit for each space.

    • Hi Michele. I loved the art on the arches as well. In the room with the arched ceiling there was one big screen, and then along the side there were large floor to almost ceiling panels. They each looked like a large sheer curtain. I believe the room contained two projection machines, and they were somehow configured to show the painting on the arched ceiling and the panels. I’d love to know how they did it!

  6. This sounds like a great exhibit!

    • Hi Jackie. It definitely was, and gives a whole new meaning to art appreciation.

  7. I like that approach to present art! Great, even I could enjoy a museum like this. Maybe I’m still not grown up 😉

    • Haha…Here’s to good art, and never growing up!!

  8. I was trying to picture taking ANY young kids to an art exhibit but after seeing the You Tube clip I can definitely see why they’d be engaged. What a terrific exhibit! I imagine that Seoul has some fantastic museums and galleries – one of these days we’ll have to head your way!

  9. Looked like an interesting way to appreciate art. Fascinating!

  10. I’ve never heard of this type of exhibit either! Van Gogh’s letters to his brother are very important to understanding his state of mind and so it would be cool to read them. Theo was also his art dealer so it’s a cross between family/business correspondence.

  11. Van Gogh was from Amsterdam and we visited his namesake museum the last time we were there. I’ll be honest with you: I wasn’t impressed with the way they displayed his works, which is a shame considering he was such a talented artist. I must say, the way his works were portrayed in the exhibit you visited looks far more enjoyable. It’s a shame we won’t be in Seoul to see it.

  12. I’m going to Amsterdam soon and really looking forward to going to the Van Gough museum

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