Monday, October 25, 2010

Valentino Exhibition at QAG/GOMA

I visited the Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future at the Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art and I was impressed by how well it worked for visitors.

Key image for the exhibition

The exhibition was shown in two large exhibition halls with a connecting space that hosted shop, cafe and video lounge area. The two exhibtion halls used a simple display of dresses on generic models, grouped on wide plinths around the room and on a large central plinth in the large gallery space.

Spacious layout of models on plinths

This layout had many benefits for visitors:

  • Plenty of room to move around, zig-zag, look back and forth, and compare.
  • This amount of space is really helpful for blockbuster exhibitions.
  • Many of the dresses could be seen from several angles.
  • It gave opportunites to look ahead and make sense of the organisation of the exhibition.
  • With no glass cases, there was a sense of immediacy and closeness that made it easy to inspect the fine workmanship.
  • It supported opportunities for visitors to play 'games' – before leaving the gallery we did a quick review and picked out the dress we would like to take home and our favourites for sisters and friends.
Another benefit of this minimal display was that there were no exhibition design features to compete with the dresses and this made them the rightful stars of the exhibition.This is a key marketing technique: make the product the hero. In a way, the non-design of the setting provided a strong contrast with the elaborate designs and workmanship of the dresses.

The layout had other benefits too, namely it is not expensive and it allows the exhibition to be re-configured for the various galleries that will host it.

 From the visitor perspective, the layout of this exhibition worked a treat.

Photo: ABC News

Contributed by Gillian Savage

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