21Sunflowers for Van Gogh

21Sunflowers for Van Gogh


A sea of sunflowers, swaying in the wind. It even appears as though we are looking at a painting by Van Gogh.

But as you come closer you see that they are lanterns, traditional Chinese lanterns. This light artwork is a homage to Vincent van Gogh, who painted 69 sunflowers during his time in Arles France. Van Gogh saw his sunflowers as lanterns.

With this literal interpretation as a source of inspiration, the Eindhoven-based light artist Hugo Vrijdag and the light festival Nanjing under the auspices of Gu Yeliang have entered a collaboration for the second time. The Lichtplein immerses the GLOW visitors in an oasis of  colour. Amplified by the sound of crickets and swallows, we imagine ourselves amidst French fields. Hugo Vrijdag’s signature is clearly recognisable in the sound of the swift. 

This work came about through a collaboration between the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam and Van Gogh Brabant. It will be exhibited in January during the Qinhuai light festival in Nanjing and will then return to the Netherlands to be exhibited next to the Van Gogh Museum on the Museumplein, Amsterdam.

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Gu Yeliang and Hugo Vrijdag created their first collaborative work for the 2018 edition of GLOW. A Chinese dragon designed by Hugo, executed by Gu and his team. Gu Yeliang exhibits his Chinese lanterns around the world. In the city of Nanjing, Gu introduces children to this artisanal art form. Hugo Vrijdag (1970), graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven. He is the co-founder of the science centres De Ontdekfabriek (Eindhoven), Het Ontdekstation (Tilburg) and the Uitvindfabriek (Breda). Through the years, Vrijdag has made a number of light installations. Last year he received many accolades for his birds at Dela.


Hugo Vrijdag + Gu Yeliang + Qinhuai Lantern Festival