The SFMOMA Magritte: The Fifth Season exhibition won a Silver award for Exhibition Design in the 2020 Graphis Annual design competition.
“René Magritte: The Fifth Season” explored how Magritte balanced irony and conviction, philosophy and fantasy, to illuminate the gaps between what we see and what we know. Together, the works revealed Magritte as an artist acutely attuned to the paradoxes at work within reality, and an enduring champion of the role of mystery in life and art. For the exhibition design and graphics, the goal was to conceive and deliver a fully realized exhibition and experience design that would prepare visitors to experience the exhibition and engage with the visual world of René Magritte, providing opportunities to both learn more about the themes of the exhibition and create sharable moments on social media platforms.
Drawing on the surreal and the mysterious themes in Magritte’s paintings, and reacting to the particular navigational challenges of the museum’s architecture we developed a system of curtains that signal and guide the visitor through a queueing space and antechamber area. These spaces provided enough flexibility for queueing (the curtains could be drawn depending on the size of the crowds) as well as an opportunity for visitors to leave the outside world behind, and mentally prepare to receive the art. An interpretative gallery at the end of the exhibition, developed in partnership with Frog, presented a series of altered and augmented “windows” that helped visitors connect to themes of the exhibition in playful, visceral way.