‘Art for me is something which teaches human beings how to become more human.’ Isamu Noguchi

Inspired by the scaffolding of one of his popular Akari lights, our graphics for the Barbican’s retrospective of Isamu Noguchi ‘took a line for a walk’. The graphics augmented an approach to curation and exhibition design that accentuated the materiality and boundless nature of the twentieth-century Japanese-American sculptor and designer’s practice. His work traversed sculpture, theatre, architecture, interiors, gardens and industrial design.

Without formal plinths and wall texts, the exhibition was staged as an ad hoc site of encounter with art and design objects that also activated the rough-hewn surfaces and forms of the Barbican’s Brutalist architecture.

To this we added quotes by Noguchi discretely typeset in KW Sammlung on the walls. We hand-painted the title wall in thin, taut uppercase letterforms announcing the sculptor’s surname. This linework became a graphic conceit particularly in the black-and-white handout containing the section texts and captions. In place of object numbers, we created thumbnail line drawings of each of the works.

  • Year: 2021
  • Client: Barbican Art Gallery
  • Location: London
  • Category: Exhibition

Curator: Florence Ostende
Curatorial Assistant: Andrew de Brún
Exhibition design: Lucy Styles
Photography: Lewis Ronald