Thursday, November 30, 2023

Sarner revives Ernest Shackleton exhibition with updated content and perspective

A new exhibition about Ernest Shackleton, the great polar explorer, opened in February at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

The exhibition, entitled “Shackleton’s legacy and the power of early Antarctic photography,” marks the hundredth year since the death of one of the most notable figures of the early 20th century geographical advancement.

The project, which was designed, produced and installed by Sarner, partly relies on existing assets from a touring exhibition originally produced by Sarner in 2015. A sizeable section of content was modified to fit the updated interpretive angle: looking at Shackleton’s life and legacy.

Photo credit: Frank Hurley, photographer © Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Whilst the core of the exhibition is centered around Shackleton’s most celebrated achievement — rescuing the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition party — great relevance is also given to Shackleton’s childhood and early life, the years before the expedition, and his later endeavors until his death in 1922 while on a different expedition.

Although the exhibition includes contributions from a variety of sources, much of the visual content is based on Frank Hurley’s seminal Antarctic photography work.

Giacomo Maracchioni, Sarner’s Lead Designer on the show, has been absorbed by the project from its inception: “From a design perspective there is nothing more rewarding than working with such outstanding content. Our approach has been focused on highlighting the existing qualities of the materials on display, translating their intrinsic value into the space.”

Photo credit: Frank Hurley, photographer © Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Visitors are guided through a series of zones characterized by an immersive approach, both indoors and outdoors. Large environmental decals have transformed the venue’s walls into a living display, blurring the boundary between the exhibition contents and the architecture. The exhibitions also uses light-boxes and retro-projected negative displays, painting reproductions, and rare artifacts.

Alasdair MacLeod, the Society’s Head of Enterprise and Resources, has project managed the exhibition content since its first inception and creation in 2015. “Our re-telling of this extraordinary story for a contemporary audience relies on the powerful display of the photographic material drawn largely from our Collections; Sarner have been inspirational in their design collaboration with us. The overwhelmingly positive response from visitors confirms the quality of the treatment and we are delighted to see the material draw new audiences to our geographical collections as a result.”

‘Shackleton’s legacy and the power of early Antarctic photography’ exhibition is at the Society from February 7 until May 4, 2022.

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