Walk through the doors into Nick Cave: Sojourn and you are met with a wall that demands your attention, clears your mind and gives you a sneak peek of what awaits around the corner. Faust, a graphic design firm out of Chicago, is responsible for the title wall that invites you on the journey that Nick Cave has created for you at the Denver Art Museum.
And their collaboration doesn’t end once you turn the corner and gaze down the line of Soundsuits. Upon exiting Sojourn you are immediately in Second Skin, a family-orientated interactive exhibit that allows you (and your kids!) to immediately put that artist inspiration to use.
When the Denver Art Museum had a second space available adjacent to Nick Cave’s exhibit Faust and Cave were excited by the opportunity to create a place where viewers could have a direct relationship with the exhibit they had just journeyed through. Faust explains, “There is a spirit to Nick’s work that affects everyone. You can look at his work and take it to an intellectual place or a political place, but you can also take it to a place of wonder and joy and that is a kid place. That’s the imagination place.”
Second Skin gives children (and adults) a chance to build their own Cave-esque sculptures using felt shapes on a felt wall or bring their own kid-size “suit” to life on the felt Soundsuit mannequins in the space. Have a little pent up energy? Cast a creative shadow on the wall via the larger-than-life sized projection of Cave’s film Drive-By or play with child-size inflatable Soundsuit punching bags for a more direct hands-on experience.
“The materiality and simplicity is the joy and magic. There is no technology in the room, just visceral, touchable experiences you can pull it down and do it all over again,” expands Faust.
Throughout the process of designing the title wall of the exhibit Faust thought of the wall as a transporter — “Nick wanted this show to be a short journey and we wanted to set the stage for that journey. What better way than to create a binoculars experience. The wallpaper is kaleidoscopic and looking through the cuts is like the view from binoculars.” The looking through effect was so important to the Faust team that they designed their own letter forms for Sojourn.
An immense amount of design work goes into an art exhibition and it commonly goes unnoticed as it seamlessly guides us into the world of the exhibit. Faust describes how he views the role of design “as the thing that brings a cohesive experience from the moment you get off the plane, to the moment you get to your hotel, to walking up to the museum, to entering the exhibit, and going through, and then what you bring home with you. Design is what does that. The artist has their vision and they create these wonderful things, whatever they may be, painting, installation, sculpture, but it is up to design to make that available and digestible.” An exhibit is not solely the art, but the experience from start to finish.
Faust is a cultural branding and communications studio founded and directed by Bob Faust. They have been collaborating with Nick Cave for over ten years. For more information about Faust visit their website. And for more information about Nick Cave: Sojourn visit the Denver Art Museum website.
Images | Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum
Words | Kelsey MacArthur