Montreal, QC, CA



Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and J. Paul Getty Museum in collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation and the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, Focus: Perfection was the first Canadian retrospective on Robert Mapplethorpe. The exhibition presented five chapters of Mapplethorpe’s career, tying together themes of figuration, fame, sexuality and identity. T B A’s design physically juxtaposed visitor and work through the use of transparent and reflective surfaces and modulation of lighting and ambience. 

We were challenged as designers to chronologically present 250 relatively small and diverse works within five cavernous exhibition rooms without losing intimacy, engagement or a cohesive reading of the work as a whole. Our approach involved the subdivision of space using transparent materials in tandem with dramatic overhead lighting to delineate intimate environments within the larger rooms. The partitions were positioned to orient long views and to create tight moments within the flow of the viewing circuit. The materials were selected to correspond with the subjects of Mapplethorpe’s work and ranged from smooth translucent surfaces and expanded metal to tactile rubber textures.

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Status: Built
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
Firm Role: Scenography
Additional Credits: Collaboration with Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal
Graphic design by Pawel Karwowski.
Project Team: Thomas Balaban, Jennifer Thorogood, Julia Manaças, Maxime Lefebvre