Casper Mueller Kneer Architects

Modern Couples Exhibition

‘Modern Couples – Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde’ was a major exhibition organised by Centre Pompidou-Metz in collaboration with Barbican Centre, London. The show, held at the Barbican Art Gallery, explored creative relationships across painting, sculpture, photography, design and literature by showcasing the work of over forty creative couples between 1850 and 1950. It included some of the biggest names in Modern Art, such as Dora Maar & Pablo Picasso; Salvador Dalí & Federico García Lorca; Camille Claudel & Auguste Rodin; Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera; Emilie Flöge & Gustav Klimt amongst others and contained over 800 loans from 150 British and international institutions and collectors.

Read more

Casper Mueller Kneer worked closely with the curators to develop display strategies that helped grouping and framing the vast number of objects on display. The Barbican Gallery was transformed into a complex suite of spaces referencing both classical and modern elements. This allowed individual treatments of the viewing spaces and their atmospheres, creating connections between works across the galleries or marking unique moments in the show, such as the ‘Exhibitions within the Exhibition’.


Over 44 different display cases were developed and constructed specifically for the show: simple and complex plinths, steel and timber vitrines and tables, wall based displays and whole room displays. The display cases were broken down into types and varied in material, colour and size to support individual works on display, from the minute cases for Duchamp’s intimate casts to the central vitrine in ‘Chance Encounters’, a monumental steel and glass case which contained around 200 works in one single vitrine.


Throughout the process Casper Mueller Kneer supported the curatorial team by mocking-up and testing selected content, facilitating a dialogue between curatorial and design decisions.


Wed 10 Oct 2018—Sun 27 Jan 2019


client: Barbican Art Centre

curators: Jane Alison, Coralie Malissard

location: Barbican Art Gallery, London

graphic design: A Practice for Everyday Life

photos: Paul Riddle, Vicente Hernandez

exhibition design: Casper Mueller Kneer Architects

team: Marianne Mueller, Olaf Kneer, Vicente Hernandez, Jamie Kühn