Gauguin and Laval in Martinique

In a narrative about friendship, adventure and a life-changing journey, the exhibition Gauguin & Laval in Martinique features works created during the short stay of the two artists on the Caribbean island of Martinique in 1887. This venture into the Exotic had left an irreversible trace on their further artistic development.

Along with the paintings, the museum shows a unique collection of sketches and preliminary studies. Originating from just a few sketchbooks that the artists took with them on the journey, but spread out across the world in loose sheets, the sketches are reunited in a special display case designed by Studio OTW. In this center piece, the delicate works on paper are like a cloud of thoughts, allowing the visitors to make visual connections between the studies and the finished works.

The aim of the exhibition design was to evoke an abstract feeling of the tropics. Using color, light and spatial elements we guide the (view of) the visitor and allow them to feel the bright yet sometimes impenetrable environment of a tropical island. A repetitive motive of vertical louvre is introduced already on the way to the gallery. Visitor’s view is carefully directed from the luscious landscape, through the prism of studies and sketches, on to the colourful paintings of the life on the island. It is a sensual, intimate encounter with the artists.

For this project Studio OTW has worked with Cecilia Hendrikx (SuopuLab) and the light designers of Theatermachine.

5 October 2018 – 13 January 2019 in the Van Gogh Museum,  Amsterdam

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