Exhibition design 2022 | „Solstice. Nordic Painting 1880-1910” – a temporary exhibition at the National Museum in Warsaw | Team: Jan Strumiłło, Marta Szczepańska, Zofia Zatorska, Helena Wierzbowska | Gradients expertly executed by Ideamo Murals | Photography by Bartosz Bajerski courtesy of MNW | Exhibition opens on 17.11.2022 and is on show until 05.03.2023
Northern landscape experience inspired the leitmotif of our proposition. Painted gradient covering all gallery walls is the abstract interpretation of the northern sky. The precise painting scheme resulted in a surprisingly fractal effect. It features three layers and two gradient transitions: the bottom layer is pure white, transitioning into the solid colour middle layer specific for each of the seven rooms and main artwork backdrop, the topmost layer smoothly fades into the black ceiling. To underline the different hues of individual rooms we had portal jambs and room skirtboards as well as free-standing wall sides painted black.
In order to stress the artworks’ strong connection to nature we let benches and security barriers look like freely stacked, almost untreated wood. Equally important are the artwork labels, which we deliberately designed as autonomous spatial objects, with marked shadows. Placing text on the inclined top label surface allowed us to increase its legibility. The strong colours of label interiors serve to signal object category.
One of the fun parts of this assignment was to design activities for children. We proposed a series of peephole boxes allowing the children to look ‘inside’ Carl Larsson’s interior-themed watercolours. We also designed a small shadow theatre where the little art enthusiasts may experiment with light and form shaping their own northern landscapes with the use of coloured perspex shapes sampled from the exhibited works.
Perhaps the most rewarding design task of the whole project was inventing the ‘welcome installation’ to advertise the exhibition in the museum lobby. Our answer features a large frame with one of the key artworks split into spatial planes machined in plywood. It allows the visitors to literally step into the picture and become part of the composition.