Art for the Nation Exhibition

Art for the Nation Exhibition

The architectural project for the exhibition Art for the Nation proposes an infrastructure that organizes an exhibition about an extremely heterogeneous collection, the Treasury Collection. It is the result of the Payment in Kind program, by which artists living in Mexico can pay their taxes by donating works of art.

We wanted to work with this vast group of works in a modular and rational way that referred to the concept of archive and offered an image of lightness and fluidity. All the graphic works are hung from suspended panels that seem to float in space. These panels function as planes of color that relate to each other through cross-views. Among the panels, organic routes are created that promote the progressive discovery of each set of works, dialogues between them, and moments of surprise.

The construction system consists of a series of metal gantries bundled together and independent from the existing walls. These 40 gantries succeed each other through the three rooms that make up the “U” of the National Gallery. Each gantry is prepared to receive a variable number of panels hanging from metal braces. The panels are between 1.5 and 7 meters in length and vary between 2.20 and 2.70 meters in height, depending on the ceiling height of each room.

These hanging stands are painted in different colors and they allow the artworks to be exhibited in the space autonomously and with great flexibility. The system is complemented by a series of bases for the exhibited sculptures. These comprise both horizontal platforms of the same stone as that covering the floor of the National Gallery, slightly elevated for the largest sculptures, together with painted wooden bases for smaller sculptures. There is also a set of wooden furniture consisting of slender benches and tables to create reading and rest stations.

Our aim was to furnish the National Palace with an architectural infrastructure that emphasizes the spatial qualities of the National Gallery itself and identifies it as a museum space. In this way, it acquires a specific and monumental character according to its context.

Curatorship: James Oles
Architecture: LANZA Atelier
Design Team: Alejandro Márquez, Celina Bonadeo, Jessica Hernández
Photos: Onnis Luque
Where and when: Galería de Palacio Nacional, México, 2016.