Design Canberra event celebrates return of exhibitions to NFSA

Belinda Cranston 7 November 2018
Heath Ledger

The team behind the NFSA installment of the Heath Ledger exhibition will give a behind-the-scenes view of the work that went into putting up the display. Photo: Karin Catt.

It’s one of Canberra’s most recognisable art deco buildings, with grey-white sandstone from the Hawkesbury River district and decorative details featuring carvings of goannas, frill-necked lizards, Aboriginal art and frieze panels.

Formerly the Australian Institute of Anatomy and home to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia since 1984, the site is now receiving thousands of visitors following the reinvention of its heritage exhibition space.

Coinciding with the Design Canberra festival, the Sydney-based design team that faced the challenges of working within the constraints of this quirky space will deliver a special talk at the NFSA this Friday 9 November.

Creative director Gregory Anderson, architect Chee Lam and designer Vania Contreras, from award-winning Trigger Design, will discuss behind-the-scenes work that went into bringing Heath Ledger: A Life in Pictures to the NFSA in Canberra.

More than 12,000 have visited the exhibition since its August opening, but what they might not know is that the blockbuster display, which originates from Perth’s Western Australian Museum, has been re-staged to fit a smaller space at the NFSA. It was not, from the outset, designed to be a travelling exhibition.

Photos: Chee Lam.

Bringing the exhibition together. Photos: Chee Lam.

“The final result is an intimate exhibition experience, closely aligned with the vision of the curator and NFSA objectives for the space,” Mr Anderson said.

Making use of the main gallery’s height, unique ambience and heritage features, Mr Anderson said added lighting was particularly important.

“To ensure that the exhibition has suitable illumination we engaged with our lighting designer who developed an ingenious, unobtrusive solution,” he said.

Photos: Chee Lam.

“The design outcome is a system with multiple usage adaptability for future exhibitions. It can be seamlessly added to, if a particular exhibition requires an additional component to the original kit of parts provided.”

Another blockbuster exhibition will open at NFSA at the conclusion of Heath Ledger: A Life in Pictures, which closes on 10 February 2019. Details will be revealed in the coming months.

The Trigger talk will be followed by a walk-through of the Heath Ledger exhibition.

WHAT: Designing Heath Ledger: A Life in Pictures

WHERE: Arc cinema, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

WHEN: Friday 9 November 2018 at 7 pm.


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