Seminar Ⅲ - Minhee Lee
Third Seminar - Minhee Lee (Exhibition Designer)
With exhibition designer Minhee Lee, we discussed the role that exhibition designers play in reinterpreting an exhibition’s purpose and visualizing it within a certain space. Lee explained that, in exhibition making, “design” can be interpreted as follows: it involves creating a three-dimensional space that effectively delivers the exhibition context. It also includes the use of structural design to stimulate viewers’ sensory memory and physically guides viewers to move and view the artworks as intended. Lee’s speech made me realize that an exhibition is equivalent to “space-memory” for viewers. Therefore, an important starting point for exhibition curation is to envision how visitors move, view, and interact with the artworks within a designated space.
- Seunga You (DCW 2023)
Exhibition designer Minhee Lee shared her experience of working at two institutions of distinctly different characters, namely “public” and “commercial.” Although not surprising, it is nevertheless interesting that the process for designing an exhibition lay-out and the environment surrounding artworks, involves focusing on either the artworks themselves or the viewers—depending on the theme, genre, and organizer of the exhibition.
Exhibition designers are in charge of visualizing the exhibition. At times, they should make their involvement clear and at others, take a step back and remain invisible. Their touch is present in the numerous moments that enhance an exhibition’s appeal and the viewers’ experience. However, for low-budget or small-scale exhibitions, the role of exhibition designer is often omitted or overseen by artists or curators. As a curator of small-scale exhibitions myself, I found the broader, more intricate perspectives and conditions for exhibiting artworks and receiving viewers presented in this session especially meaningful.
- Sangyeop Rhii (DCW 2023)
As a medium that exists only temporarily, what does it mean to “design” an exhibition? Exhibition designer Minhee Lee shared some hints as she drew from her extensive experience gained by working with and independently from art institutions.
During the workshop, we studied her previous projects and explored the differences between museum exhibitions, which are rooted in public interests and research, and commercial exhibitions, which focus on recruiting viewers and paying attention to any related consumption. Designing an exhibition is centered around developing a system for communicating exhibition information. While museum exhibitions prioritize artworks, commercial exhibitions seek to facilitate the audience’s understanding. Of course, there are exceptions and limitations when dividing “exhibitions” into commercial and non-commercial. It was interesting to note that Lee “aims for 80 percent, not 100 percent, when designing an exhibition space.” This takes the audience’s movement into account, providing a vacant space to “pause” and reflect on the works. Furthermore, this interval considers the concept of “barrier-free,” which has been actively discussed in recent years. Exhibition items and corridors are set 1,200–1,500 millimeters apart to accommodate for the movement of wheelchairs. Another key point in Lee’s designs is her control of “intensity” levels in large-scale exhibitions. For example, creating pockets of rest between two sections 2 naturally creates a waiting area or an intermission before the next line of artworks. This workshop shed light on what to consider when designing an exhibition, and how to approach the task of displaying artworks as effectively as possible.
- Jieon Lee (DCW 2023)