Royal Academy of Arts Exhibition Design – “Picasso: Painter and Sculptor in Clay”

DESIGN

Sophie Hicks - Exhibition Design: "Picasso: Painter and Sculptor in Clay"Royal Academy of Arts,  London, UK
September to December 1998

We worked with the curators at the Royal Academy of Arts to design the setting and plan the installation for this exhibition of Picasso’s ceramics. It was important to have a light touch and to enhance the spirit of playfulness and experimentation with which the pieces were created: Picasso made the sculptural pots and plates during his summer holidays between 1946 and the 1960’s at his studio which was the local pottery at Vallauris in the South of France.

Picasso created the pieces fast and freely, and one can clearly see the way he manipulated and marked the clay. We displayed the ceramics on concrete plinths which were cast in moulds and used unfinished to ensure that only the touch of Picasso was present. The pots were mainly on open display but where works had to be covered, for security reasons, large acrylic boxes were mechanically fixed over them. The galleries were predominately lit with daylight, which was boosted with fluorescent striplights such as one might find in a workshop.