Surreal House at the Barbican Art Gallery

Surreal House at the Barbican Art Gallery

A series of archetypal “house” forms were clustered together in the Barbican Art Gallery to create a bespoke exhibition design for the presentation of Surrealist art, sculpture, film and architecture.

The labyrinth of rooms created by the installation drew on familiar as well as abstract associations of domestic space, and challenged the visitor’s preconceived expectations of the existing gallery.

The double-height space of the gallery was transformed into a complex framework of interlinked rooms in an attempt to disguise the conventional exhibition environment. A maze of ground-floor spaces disorientated visitors through distorted volumes of space, creating an uncanny atmosphere in which to view the collection. The interconnected ground-floor route of ambiguous corridors, corners and chambers contained within the main double-height gallery only became discernible as domestic roof-forms from the upper-floor mezzanine.

The architectural installation was defined by the rich use of colour inside and outside the sculptural forms, which were cut with carefully composed apertures for views across and through spaces and thresholds. This framework of views amplified the spatial experience, making physical and visual connections between rooms and exhibits, and blurred the subject/ object relationship of the Surrealist art, the gallery and the visitors.

Awards
"Silver Pencil" at the D&AD Awards in Exhibition Design

Client: The Barbican Art Gallery
Location: The Barbican Art Gallery, London
Status: Completed May 2010
Photography: Luke Hayes

Surreal House at the Barbican Art Gallery
Surreal House at the Barbican Art Gallery
Surreal House at the Barbican Art Gallery
Surreal House at the Barbican Art Gallery
Surreal House at the Barbican Art Gallery