Exhibition on screen is one of the art forms presented as part of the MultiCulture Britain project. This time Phil Grabsky, an acclaimed British documentary filmmaker, invites us into the world of the genius Van Gogh and his Japanese inspirations.
“I envy the Japanese”, Van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo. In the exhibition upon which this film is based – VAN GOGH & JAPAN at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam – one can see why. Though Vincent van Gogh never visited Japan and yet it is the country that had the most profound influence on him and his art.
One cannot understand Van Gogh without understanding how Japanese art arrived in Paris in the middle of the 19th century and the profound impact it had on artists like Monet, Degas and, above all, Van Gogh. Visiting the new galleries of Japanese art in Paris and then creating his own image of Japan – through in-depth research, collecting prints and detailed discussions with other artists – Van Gogh’s encounter with Japanese artworks gave his work a new and exciting direction.
After leaving Paris for the south of France – to what he thought of as near to a kind of Japan as he could find – the productive and yet troubled years that followed must all be seen in the context of Van Gogh bending Japanese influences to his will and defining himself as a modern artist with clear Asian precursors.
In this little known story of Van Gogh’s art we see just how important his study of Japan was. The film travels not only to France and the Netherlands but also to Japan to further explore the remarkable heritage that so affected Van Gogh and made him the artist we know of today.
“Exhibition on screen” is the originator and pioneer of bringing exhibition-based art films to the cinema. Working with top international museums and galleries, “Exhibition on screen” create films which offer a cinematic immersion into the world’s best loved art, accompanied by insights from the world’s leading historians and arts critics. Since launching in 2011, “Exhibition on screen” have released 16 films which have been shown in over 50 countries across the globe and over one million seats have been sold! This is a wonderful resource for audiences worldwide – from Caracas to Cape Town, Berlin to Brisbane.
Phil Grabsky – Executive Producer & Director, has been making documentaries for 30 years and is a multi-award winner. For the past 15 years he and award-winning director David Bickerstaff along with their colleagues have been both a major independent producer of arts films for TV as well as a pioneer (and largest producer) of cultural documentaries for the cinema. “Exhibition on screen” has extensive relationships with galleries around the world (National Gallery (London), Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Tate, MoMA, Hermitage, National Gallery of Art (Washington DC), Royal Academy and many more).