Caruso St John Architects

Location: Paris, FR
Project Status: Exhibition Design

The artist, whose medium is photography and film, was reluctant to show his work in the basement at the Fondation Cartier, where walls and controllable lighting would have allowed a conventional installation. Quite reasonably, he wished to show in the more visible ground floor gallery, where there are no walls and no control over daylight.

The walls of the exhibition are full height screens running parallel from one glazed wall to the other, placed perpendicular to the street so that the transparency of the building to the garden is not interrupted. The screens are thin, like the elements of the building, and lined with paper. Each surface has a different colour, such that from any one viewpoint a range of colours is seen together. The colours give the ground floor a vaguely inhabited feeling from the street, like the walls of a house whose façade has been removed.

Within the exhibition the works are spatially located in relation to the colours and large openings. The paper-thin wall surfaces are soft, like the papers sometimes glimpsed in the illusions constructed by the artist. Seen from the front, the dark colours of the walls are not visible in the highly reflective surfaces of the photographs. Seen from the side, the works are sometimes obscured by sky reflection from the high windows.