Tate Modern commissioned Cartlidge Levene to design the on-site graphics for their 2014 summer blockbuster exhibition. Henri Matisse created his cut-outs during the last years of his life and they were brought together in London for the first time in fifty years making this a once in a lifetime experience to see such a comprehensive display.
The brief was to design ‘on-site presence’ that left visitors in no doubt that ‘Matisse: Cut-Outs’ was a show not to be missed!
This provided a rare opportunity to use Tate Modern’s riverside brick elevation as a giant canvas. Normally exhibition titles are contained in lightboxes above the entrances but for Matisse: Cut-Outs, we wanted it to appear as if the exhibition title had exploded out of the lightbox onto the elevation above.
We carefully composed the graphic elements which were based on actual Matisse cut-out shapes, looking closely at how the shapes touch and balance with each other, at what point they meet the lightbox and how the shapes integrate with the physical form of the building.
Three cut-out graphics were applied on site: two external and one internal. We used a heat-applied vinyl product for the application which is designed specifically for external brickwork. When applied it takes on the appearance of paint, revealing the textures and contours of the wall surfaces. The text was cut through the vinyl so that the wall surface shows through.