Finding Familiarity with Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night in Paris

Familiarity with Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” takes on a new meaning in “La Nuit Étoilée”.


“La Nuit Étoilée” is a 2019 show presented by the venue Atelier des Lumières in Paris, France. It provides an immersive experience of grand scale digital projections inside this old foundry, that is set amid cobble stone streets and new age cafés along Rue Saint-Maur in the 11th arrondissement.

I took a metro ride there from my AirBnB in Montemarte and entered into familiar impressions of starry nights and café scenes all around. The familiarity with the work mixed with the adventurous new vibe and feeling of being a visitor in a beautiful European city in Springtime.

It was very dark inside and I got sleepy and disoriented while viewing the show, sort of like recovering from a second wave of jet lag. While surrounding me were the familiar visions of blue dabs of rivers and night skies, and bright yellow smudges of twinkling stars.

Throughout the space, one could stand, sit, lie down or navigate in and out of corridors and corners, watching images and movies move across the walls. And amidst the familiar imagery, I also saw things I’d never seen before of Van Gogh’s.

I left with this poetic press line on my mind: the show was designed to “évoquer la monde intérieur à la fois démesuré, chaotique et poétique” (evoke the artist’s highly emotional, chaotic and poetic inner world).

What a nod to all his drama back in the day.

“La Nuit Étoilée” on view inside Atelier des Lumières.
Blue and yellow dabs of paint depicting the impression of stars shining over a river in France.
The impression of stars shining over the river.
Visitors sitting against a portrait of Van Gogh.
The recognizable irises.
Portraits of Armond Roulin.
“…évoquer la monde intérieur à la fois démesuré, chaotique et poétique” (…evoke the artist’s highly emotional, chaotic and poetic inner world).

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