The exhibition Actrius Catalanes del segle XX (Catalan Actresses of the 20th Century), on display in the Palau Robert exhibition space in Barcelona, is a tribute to some of Catalonia's most appealing and enduring twentieth century actresses. Inspired by the subject matter, we designed a feminine theatre space for the occasion. The color red is synonymous with spectacle and glamour, with red carpets paving the way to many cultural events, red lipstick signaling femininity and purple and red the main colors in most theatres. In keeping with these cultural references, red and purple are the colors that surround and follow the audience throughout the seven spaces of the exhibition. A red carpet accompanies the visitor from their first step within Palau Robert. Inside, a canvas screen is backlit in red; it illuminates the space and serves as a backdrop for graphic projections. Purple velvet curtains serve as a backdrop while demarcating the different spaces and ushering visitors from one area to the next.
The lighting structure in the first room is in the form of a kaleidoscope. A vintage sofa provides a comfortable place to recline and enjoy the interviews and screen clips of the different actresses. Meanwhile, a spiral of tulle guides the viewer through ten archetypes of complex characters which were represented during the theatre years. A hallway is hung with large images depicting the ten decades of the twentieth century, and the exhibition as a whole is a compilation of memorabilia, costumes, personal belongings and letters, all gathered in a deceptively simple but expertly staged space. Curtains hung with authentic reviews from the time allow the visitor to truly inhabit the historical moment. Finally, a large timeline displays period objects and shows a video.
This is an exhibition which depends on careful lighting and use of color to provide the desired atmosphere -- equal parts feminine and theatrical.