How does the message of (your) art change according to the way it's displayed or compiled?
How does a well thought-out hanging add to the experience of seeing art?
In the first part of this two-part post we went on a whistle-stop tour of two art exhibitions running in parallel at the CAC Málaga (the tiny works in Made in Spain and the enormous paintings of Yan Pei-Ming in No Comment) to see how the scale of art impacts the way we perceive it.
In this second part, we'll revisit the two exhibitions to see how the way an exhibition is hung can change our perception of the work, and how we can apply these lessons to compiling or displaying creative work or products of any kind.
First Impressions Count
Stepping through the door of the No Comment exhibition, you are confronted with a wall-sized red painting - Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming's homage to Goya: Execution After Goya in which the artist reinterprets Goya's famous painting from 1814, 'El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid', (3rd of May 1808 in Madrid).
The first encounter with the blood-redness of this painting is visceral and shocking and prepares you for a challenging visit.
But it's on the way out, that the precise brilliance of its placement becomes really apparent: after having been exposed to painting after painting in tones of black and grey, Execution After Goya grabs you all over again, sealing the whole experience.
Grouping Artworks for Maximum Impact
As I mentioned in the previous post, the scale of the work in the main exhibition area is overpowering and humbling.
But the force of the exhibition is not left to scale alone.
In each separate area the arrangement of the work is skilfully thought out:
And the effect is?
Like being submerged in Yan Pei-Ming's subconscious.
Could we ask for more?
Small Artworks Grouped Thematically
The tiny format of the pieces in Made in Spain also lends itself to grouping, but because it is difficult to get a sense of the whole group from afar (unless you have above-average vision), the scale changes the experience completely.
The works are grouped thematically:
But this isn't something that is immediately apparent.
The miniature scale forces you to step into the group in order to experience it, become part of it almost; the theme revealing itself imperceptibly as you explore.
(You can see this interaction between viewer and artworks here.)
Creative Products in Emotive Combinations
Experiencing the radically different effect of the scale and curation style of these two exhibitions has really got me thinking about the role that these play in how people perceive our work.
How might you group your works for maximum immersion and impact?
Think not just in terms of visual art but
What theme will you use to tie them together?
How could you allow this theme to gradually reveal itself rather than make it obvious?
Or might you experiment with a 'counterpoint' element like the red Goya painting?
Share your thoughts in the comments.