“Between smoke and mist, Sigfrido Koch Bengoechea” is an exhibition curated by Lee Fontanella and Juantxo Egaña at San Telmo Museoa, Donostia. It shows 150 photographs structured into two themes: The first has as its axis the “War Album”, whose most notable content is the unpublished photographs of the effects of the bombings in the Basque Country by the Italian Legionary Air Force (Italy).
Studio Name: Hiruki studio
Location: San Sebastian, Spain
Photography Credits: Juantxo Egaña
Organization and Coordination: San Telmo Museoa.
Curator: Juantxo Egaña & Lee Fontanella.
Exhibition Design: Hiruki studio.
Graphic Design: Marmol estudioa.
Audiovisual Installation: Colibri studio & Hiruki studio (Editing: Raúl M. Candela). Mounting: San Telmo Museoa, Ana Garcia, Onartu & Expomon.
Photography: Juantxo Egaña.
and the Condor Legion (Germany) (from Guernica to the fall of Bilbao) Ebro and Madrid during the Spanish Civil War; the second focuses on bucolic, perhaps nostalgic, photographs published in the book “País Vasco: Guipúzcoa” taken many years after the war had destroyed his beloved country.
The exhibition design is also structured in two rooms in total opposition: the war room is solemn, with thick black painted walls and dim lighting, while the second room, the bucolic, is a pale mauve room that help the visitor find some peace of mind after seeing all the horrors contained in the first room. The title of the exhibition, “between the smoke and the fog”, refers to the smoke that is generated during the bombings and the typical fog that exists at dawn in the Basque Country. This was a key concept to develop a strong and unitary graphic design that coexists in such antagonistic spaces. All information displays are made of plastic supports and semi-transparent fabrics, giving a blurred atmosphere.
The letters of the main title are out of focus, reinforcing the concept of fog and also referencing the photography itself. War Album One of the design challenges was to arrange such a large number of images in such a limited space, considering the harshness and cruelty shown in most of the war images. The exhibition combines dense photo compositions with online installations to create rhythm and distance in the content. The central walls of the war room were designed as a geometric abstraction of a bombed Guernica, taking as a reference the skeletons of the houses shown in the images after the bombing of the town: high-rise structures that decompose organize the tour.
The photographs of the bombings are arranged by town and placed one on top of the other, creating a vertical relationship: a selection of images taken from the bomber planes have been placed at the top of the walls, creating an action-reaction connection between the upper part (photos that show the bombs falling from the sky) and the photos below, with the devastated villages. In addition, the visitor must look up, exactly as the civilians did when they heard the approaching planes.