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Forms of presentation in museums and galleries

Showcasing art with light

Showcasing art with light

The inherent diversity of art treasures is reflected in the wide range of exhibition concepts and lighting used by museums and galleries. Each art-historical era focuses on different ideals for presentation, and in a similar way, social preferences also change with regard to suitable methods of reception. Large-format, minimalist paintings for example look best with planar vertical lighting. Accent lighting on the other hand is ideally suited to small, high-contrast works of art. In addition to illuminating individual exhibits, gallery owners and exhibition organisers also use light as an essential component in the overall presentation of exhibitions and buildings. In this way, visitors are impressively exposed to both culture and architecture.

Forms of presentation in museums and galleries

Exhibits in front of a neutral background

Neutral exhibition spaces in white support the factual and objective communication of art. Curators avoid emphasising individual exhibits as special attractions with the aim of achieving a uniform presentation. Exhibits and the room gain equal weighting and appear as a single unit.

Forms of presentation in museums and galleries

Strikingly emphasising artworks

Accenting puts the focus on the works of art in an exhibition – in either a subtle or striking way. Coloured walls, as found in many historic rooms, already create discreet contrasts between a picture and its background. Intensive contrasts in brightness are achieved via accenting light. Crisp light beams give the exhibits the appearance of individualists in the space. The directed light creates brilliance on surfaces and an expressive interplay of light and shadows with sculptures.

Forms of presentation in museums and galleries

Differentiated presentation of objects in the room

Visually impressive exhibitions celebrate the viewing of art as a multifarious experience, and illuminating individual exhibits is only part of the lighting design. Of equal importance is communicating the atmosphere of the exhibition theme via light in the room. Different levels of brightness establish hierarchies of perception between the artworks themselves and in relation to the surrounding space. Various colour temperatures provide additional support in creating contrasts between zones, thus also contributing to an emotional overall experience.