Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architectes create design for Chagall exhibition at MMFA

Photo credit: SODRAC & ADAGP 2017, Chagall. Photo MMFA, Denis Farley
Photo credit: SODRAC & ADAGP 2017, Chagall. Photo MMFA, Denis Farley

Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architectes has created an exhibition design for the largest Marc Chagall exhibition ever presented in Canada.

Under the leadership of the Montreal Museum of Fine Art‘s Director and Head Curator, Nathalie Bondil, and the museum’s Head of Exhibitions Production, Sandra Gagné, Anik Shooner and her team created an exhibition design in which the galleries are organized as a series of spaces that capture the extraordinary sensory range of Chagall’s work.

“To immerse yourself in the world of Chagall is a wonderful experience, from colours and materials to music, creations for the stage, costumes, fables, poetry,” said architect Anik Shooner. “We worked to create an exhibition design occupying classic spaces, showcasing the great artist’s paintings and positioning visitors not only as viewers, but immersing them in worlds featuring costumes, among other elements.

We wanted visitors to cross thresholds that embody the transition from one world to another. The visitor is by turns a spectator and an active participant. In every case, they experience dreamlike sensations inspired by an exhibition design at once immersive, reflective, restful and enticing – and always deep. Above all, we wanted to inspire visitors to feel the full emotional power of Chagall’s art.”

The exhibition is designed as a complete narrative and immersive experience, revealing and highlighting the diversity of the artist’s pictorial, decorative and architectural creations. Punctuated by “thresholds” that embody the transition from one world to the next, like the transitions that happen in dreams, the exhibition is a deep journey into the ethereal world of Marc Chagall.

Photo credit: SODRAC & ADAGP 2017, Chagall. Photo MMFA, Denis Farley
Photo credit: SODRAC & ADAGP 2017, Chagall. Photo MMFA, Denis Farley

While the exhibition design is implemented in a very real physical setting, structuring a well-defined space, its dynamic design, architectural elements and technological apparatus (screens, lighting, material, music, colours) allow visitors to forget the boundaries and perimeter of the space, creating a sense of depth that draws them in and guides them, as if in a waking dream.

Like music, Chagall’s art evokes powerful, complex emotions that come together in a complete space whose workings are inexplicable. Like Chagall’s art, the path through the exhibition was designed and composed with a deliberate intent to distance visitors from their bearings and draw them into a full immersion in the painter’s work. In perfect harmony with the music, the exhibition space is designed to embrace visitors, the better to put them at the heart of the mystery and complexity of the artist’s work.

As in the mysterious world of dreams, the exhibition galleries are designed as a collection of spaces both distinctive and inseparable, making the suggested path a rich experience, at once visual, musical and spatial.

For more information on the exhibition, click here.