Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Design for Exhibitions

It is usually curators who select particular pieces to put into a display, to tell a story or present common themes. For example, the Wilberforce House Museum in Hull, has many different mediums to communicate and educate the public, such as free MP3 downloads on their website, which are suitable for adults and children. It is a multi-sensory experience with colour aids and audio guides for orientation around the exhibition. There are also Animateurs, who communicate historical facts in an engaging way for the young audience.

The Usher Gallery is just finishing exhibiting Transmitter/ Receiver: The Persistence of Collage, which I visited today. The aim of my visit was to look at the labelling and layout of the exhibition in particular.
The labelling was close to the pieces, unlike the white cube aesthetic which was inspired by the minimalist modernism. Instead I found that the labelling of this exhibition was not overpowering, although black text on white, and I put this down to the sans serif type used, which was much softer.

My favourite piece in the exhibition was Mark Titchner's The Invisible Republic, 2006. Inkjet on vinyl. The description read: Made for the It Is You exhibition at the Arnolfini, Bristol in 2006, The Invisible Republic exemplifies all the hopes and ideals of today's culturally overly- aware society.  Taken from corporate mission statements, the text is relentless in its demanding of improvement, potential, and collective contribution towards a better future for the viewer. Titchner makes a wry comment on the state of art today, and its position within our commercial society.

I don't think I've ever considered how much work and thought goes into producing such an exhibition, involving multiple design fields to collaborate, such as Interactive Design (how the audience move through the space), Informative Design ( organises the presentation of content) and Sensorial Design (Lighting, colour, sound and movement). Graphic designers also have to work with certain constraints, such as, a budget, the attention span of the audience, possible policies of word counts, the exhibition space and the genre and style of the gallery.

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