5 October 2018 – 13 January 2019 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Exhibition design: Studio OTW and SuopuLab. Lighting design: Theatermachine.
In a narrative about friendship, adventure and a life-changing journey, Gauguin & Laval in Martinique features works created during the short stay of the two artists on the Caribbean island Martinique in 1887. This venture into the Exotic has left an irreversible trace on their further artistic development.
The exhibition design aims to evoke an abstract feeling of the tropics. Using color, light and spatial elements we guide the (view of) the visitor and allow them to feel the bright yet sometimes impenetrable environment of a tropical island. A repetitive motive of vertical louvres is introduced already on the way to the gallery.
We also created a sense of transit by gradually increasing the level of proximity to the island – from the moment of entering the main hall until the arrival in the exhibition room. Martinique is first introduced on a large videowall screening present-day drone views, realistically but from a distance. Follows, the stairwell taking the visitors through a dense jungle, wild with exotic colors. Eventually the visitor enters the exhibition room. In here only the color scheme and the vertical rhythm echo the tropical voyage, purely abstract now. The visitor’s view is carefully directed, through the prism of studies and sketches, on to the colourful paintings of the life on the island. It is a sensual, intimate encounter with the artists.
Studio OTW designed the center piece for the delicate works on paper. They are floating weightlessly like a cloud of thoughts, allowing the visitors to make visual connections between the studies and the finished works on the walls behind it.