Under the Same Sun: Exhibition Design at Museo Jumex (subtítulos en español)

♪ [Pablo León de la Barra]: The idea of inviting an architect to design the space came from Jumex. They held a small competition, and they invited three different architects to submit proposals of what the exhibition could be. At the end, after interviewing the three candidates, we took the group decision at the Guggenheim that we wanted to work with Frida. Her proposal was the one that worked with the space, but which also respected the integrity of Chipperfield’s architecture. [Frida Escobedo]: The architecture, as you can see, is very potent. It has a very strong language. So we decided to create something that was a little bit more horizontal, that wouldn’t compete with the verticality of the space, and that wouldn’t create divisions. So the basic idea is to have a system of ramps, or wedges, that you can see here, and it’s basically working with the idea of a slope, and a plateau. So if you have these two wedges, and you pile them up together, you have a plateau; if you have a single element, then it’s a slope. And you can play with that in different planes. [Pablo León de la Barra]: I was very surprised when we finally saw the project inside the space, you know? And saw the ramps. I mean, you’re always nervous– you see models, you don’t know what’s . . . I mean, you get a sense of what’s going to happen, and you play around, and we were always in dialogue. But then seeing it present in the space, and being able to walk on the ramp, and to see how this continuous surface creates a dialogue, one, with the architecture, but also between the works, no? And I think it gives me a new vision of my own exhibition. [Jaime Roark]: I think that it’s always a challenge to conceptualize a show and artworks for your own space, and then to send it to an unfamiliar space. As exhibition designers, a big thing that we’re interested in, and what the creative process revolves around, is what the qualities of that space are. You can get a lot out of pictures, but there’s something to be said for how big something feels, or how much space something kind of takes up in your perception. For “Under the Same Sun,” we had two tower galleries in New York, so the show was split between the two levels. While it was nice to have the second gallery, that had the taller spaces, a space like Jumex is so big, and the ceilings are so tall, that it really changes the playing field a little bit in that sense, especially since there are some ceiling-hung objects in the show. [Jonathas de Andrade:] The installation here was at first very challenging, but also very exciting, because the room has a very high ceiling, so the posters can go up more–they can play more with space. So at first, I drew around the floor plans of the museum, but it was very hard, not visiting the museum, to have an exact idea of how that would work. So when I came here, when I arrived at Jumex, I could check if my drawings were working well, and I could also make some final adjustments. In relation to the Guggenheim’s installation, we have more ceiling supports, and fewer wall supports. Here we have three entries for the piece, from the elevator, from this main room, and from the other corridor back there. So the position of the projector, and the Classifieds, were also considered in relation to that. And I think still, you have room for the audience to go around, and to play with the pieces. [Pablo León de la Barra]: Jonathas de Andrade invites the visitors to move those “Posters for the Museum of the Man of the Northeast.” It’s really built on a notion of what does the mixed race of the Americas mean. So it’s not only about someone finding his own identity as a man of the Northeast, but also our own identity as inhabitants of this continent. And on the other hand, you have Amalia’s work, which is activated at different moments in the exhibition, and which comes from two historical anecdotes. On one hand, the disappearance of set theory and the intersection from elementary school programs in Argentina during the dictatorship. And this, related to the idea that the military junta at the time prohibited more than three people from gathering together in the streets because, of course, it was seen as potentially subversive. And in activating the performers, she recognizes the historical facts, but also moves toward the future by thinking of ways in which we can form new ways of intersection, new ways of community together. [Amalia Pica]: It’s always really satisfying to be here for the performance aspect. The piece is stationary, but I feel like it is stationary because it changes all the time. There’s a double circulation thing; how can we welcome people to the space this way, where the piece is, or perform toward the direction in which people would be the most comfortable? The space in which it is installed this time doesn’t have a ninety-degree angle, and also doesn’t have a clear place in which you would perform, so we made a decision to do a diagonal performance across the space. So it was finding that balance. And I’m pretty happy about it. I think it looks good.

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