Identity. Behind the Curtain of Uncertainty exhibition design

Behind the curtain of uncertainty

Our client on this project was Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA), an internationally active non-governmental culture organization that offers an independent perspective on current topics and recent historical events through the looking glass of art. The exhibition was organised by LCCA in partnership with the National Art Museum of Ukraine and the main initiators of this event – the embassies of the Nordic and Baltic States in Ukraine. 

Our task was to create a compelling visual identity for the exhibition ‘Identity. Behind the Curtain of Uncertainty’ – one of the major exhibitions of this decade of the North Eastern European contemporary art at the National Art museum of Ukraine. The works by more than 30 artists from nine countries were exhibited over the two museum floors. 

When thinking of what visual elements reflect an identity of a country, and artists were selected by the countries they represent, no doubt the most literal thought is the country flag. We noticed, that in this particular case, every flag of the participating countries cherished a very homogenous sense of proportion, composition and symbolic value, leaving colour as the main element of difference. Since the exhibition called for a re-evaluation of the notion of identity, emphasising its diverse aspects, we decided to break down the colour separation between each of the flags, wondering if by taking it away countries would be still recognisable. Yet we didn’t stop there – for some their identity spawns from the land they come from, not state represented by the flag. By playing around with the visual perception and the identity of the flags in a grey scale, we incorporated geological patterns instead of the solid colours of grey - every shade of grey was replaced with a pattern that was the closest to the colour depending on the density of the pattern. The outcome resulted in a very rich and detailed ornament - unrecognisable, yet still respecting the proportion and composition of the flags. 

In addition to the concept development for the exhibition we designed the main catalogue of the exhibition, booklets, invitations, posters, billboards, and the overall way-finding and signage system for this exhibition.