So that you need my arts job: Exhibition Designer

So you want my arts job: Exhibition Designer


In case you have a eager eye for color, materiality and house, then being an exhibition designer may be the job for you. The Nationwide Gallery of Australia’s Jing-Ling Chua talks about her profession.

So you want my arts job: Exhibition Designer

Nationwide Gallery Exhibition Designer Jing-Ling Chua strolling by galleries. Picture provided.

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As Senior Exhibition Designer for the Nationwide Gallery of Australia (NGA), Jing-Ling Chua has contributed to over 30 exhibitions for the NGA, together with main exhibitions as numerous as Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons, Roy Lichtenstein: Pop Remix, Fable+Magic: Artwork of the Sepik River and Cartier: The Exhibition.

In 2019 Chua was a part of the Venice Biennale Skilled Growth Program as an Rising Arts Professionals. She additionally fosters her ardour for structure and graphic design by private initiatives, together with co-founding Hester artwork journal, a web based platform for artists, writers and curators to publish unique artwork writing.


She is presently engaged on the Know My Title: Australian Girls Artists 1900 to Now which is able to span 4300 sq. metres of Nationwide Gallery ground house. 

How would you describe what you do?

Exhibition Designers plan the customer circulation, key sightlines, and transitions between gallery areas to subtly craft a dialogue between the artwork and the customer. We perceive the spatial surroundings of a gallery, its architectural alternatives – and limitations – whereas rigorously contemplating how a customer interacts with the artistic endeavors inside this context.  


Jing-Ling Chua educated as an architect earlier than her profession as an exhibition designer for NGA. Picture provided.

What do that you must be an exhibition designer?

Creativity and a eager eye for color, materiality, and house. You additionally want technical drawing expertise and the power to convey design ideas by fashions, drawings or 3D renders. Being a great listener helps, as we tackle board the specialist wants of the exhibition group and provides them kind to form the expertise of the customer.

How did you get your begin on this profession – what was your first job?

After learning structure and dealing for a neighborhood constructing firm, I enrolled in a Graduate Diploma in Museums and Collections on the Australian Nationwide College. As a part of my coursework, I managed to safe an internship with the NGA’s Exhibition Design group. I might are available in for 2 days every week throughout three months and was capable of take in internal workings of the gallery.

We have been putting in an exhibition known as Smooth Sculpture on the time. There was such selection in scale and mediums of the works, from Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa enormous vinyl inflatable Clear lotus flower, 2009 to Eva Hesse’s monumental suspended work Contingent, 1969.

I bought a glimpse into the splendidly collaborative nature of putting in an exhibition – witnessing all of those extremely specialised NGA consultants coming collectively on the gallery ground.

How collaborative is that this job?

Extraordinarily! I’m always liaising with group members by all phases of the design course of. Within the idea stage we take cues from the curator’s imaginative and prescient for the present in addition to artist, lender and conservation necessities.

Through the design improvement stage, I put together design doc drawings, ground plans, bodily fashions and 3D renders for approval from the manager employees. Refurb durations contain managing builders and painters.

Then probably the most rewarding a part of the job is the set up interval, once you get to see the artistic endeavors in particular person, can respect their magnitude and see the design take form with the assistance of exhibition coordinators, installers, conservators and registrars.

One other actually rewarding a part of my job is the chance to attach immediately with artists to raised perceive their intention for his or her work. I intention to be delicate to the artist wants, bringing my expertise and data of the galleries as bodily areas to seek out appropriate design outcomes. For the upcoming Know My Title: Australian Girls Artists 1900 to Now exhibition I’ve been lucky to work with many unimaginable artists together with Barbara Campbell, Janet Laurence, Mikala Dwyer and Micky Allan to debate the placement and type of their works.

Jing-Ling Chua (rear) working alongside Exhibition Designer Georgina Whigham (entrance) to position works within the scale mannequin of the Know My Title exhibition. Picture provided.

What’s a median week like?

I’m all the time juggling a couple of initiatives on the go, focusing most of my time on allotted short-term exhibitions, while managing the everlasting assortment and touring exhibition changeovers. No two weeks are the identical and that’s what retains the job attention-grabbing.

Luckily, I’m not caught behind a desk all week. This week I’ve are available in earlier than hours to supervise a signwriter replace signage associated to the not too long ago opened Artwork Retailer; moved pallets of exhibition furnishings from the artwork dock to the exhibition house; checked out artistic endeavors within the conservation lab to debate show options; and frolicked within the galleries with the curators to advise on the position of works.

What’s the most typical false impression about being an Exhibition Designer?

The position is rather more than merely deciding on paint colors as a backdrop. Additionally, artwork is not only work on a wall. One of many principal goals of the Know My Title exhibition is to display how girls artists have challenged materials hierarchies and concepts of excessive and low artwork. Some examples of artists throughout the exhibition working in numerous media embrace: Mirka Mora’s hand-painted cloth dolls long-established from her kids’s bedsheets, proper by to Justene Williams’ Provided that/You set a spell on/mine uterus (2014) which features a ute, a fridge and neon lights.

In an interview to your job, what would you be in search of in an Exhibition Designer?

A extremely inventive designer who can synthesise complicated ideas from a short and use participating and modern design concepts to current them.

What’s altering in Exhibition Design immediately?

Over the previous half-century, exhibition design for museums and galleries has developed from being predominantly collection-focused to now – rather more visitor-centred experiences. Advances in interactive expertise and lighting are additionally guiding immersive experiences within the museums sphere.

I’m captivated with questioning and rethinking the design course of to maximise environmental sustainability all through our practices – and embedding them into the career. Constructing and putting in short-term exhibitions don’t want to make use of giant quantities of building supplies which might be troublesome to recycle. Intelligent design considering, materials choice, reuse and modularity are necessary steps in the proper course for our discipline.

Extra within the collection:

So that you need my arts job: Ebook designer

So You Need My Arts Job: Mona Curator

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