Nina Shen

CT20 Director Nina Shen, lead on Exhibition Design, Curatorial Advice, Film making including Second Camera, Film Sound and Exhibition Film Editing for a landmark exhibition by Shape Arts & NDMAC

April – November 2024

CREA on Giudecca, Venice

Nearest caporetto stop: Redentore

#cripartespazio #thedaminvenice2024 #newcripaesthetics #artofactivism #exhibitiondesign

CT20 Projects is honored to be part of ‘CRIP ARTE SPAZIO: The DAM in Venice 2024’ with its director, Nina Shen creating a new crip aesthetics for the landmark exhibition showcasing the Disability Arts Movement on the international stage in Venice.

Working closely with the curator David Hevey, Nina began her journey on DAM initially as curatorial consultant, she then took on the major role as the Exhibition Designer to develop a new way of exhibition-making that helped to define and convey the dynamism, wit and exuberance of the Disability Arts Movement – a UK-based art movement began in the 1970s led by a coalition of disabled artists who fought barriers, helped change the law and made great art and propaganda about their struggles. 

Nina designed and conceived the mood and experience of the whole exhibition, transforming an ex-industrial boat-yard on the island of Giudecca in Venice into an immersive public square with a cacophony of art forms and political voices, ‘as if an electric demonstration of crip creatives have arrived in Venice’! She designed many site-specific and bespoke pieces for the exhibition, including the series of large-scale fabric banners, the big sliding letter doors, the larger-than-life film projections, the printed fabric scrolls and bespoke table that brought to life Keith Armstrong’s photographic archive and funeral shroud, the display stand for Abi Palmer, so on and so forth. 

As a dynamic curator and multi-skilled practitioner, Nina also worked on the series of new artist moving image works directed by curator/activist filmmaker, David Hevey, where she was second camera, location sound recordist and film editor. Nina also designed and produced a series of accessible Exhibition Guide, printed with CT20’s RISO press.

Gallery images by Andy Barker

The exhibition is a milestone in CT20’s production services, with support from an amazing team from Shape Arts, talented AV & Lighting designers and skilled fabricators and installers:

David Hevey – Project Lead, Curator, Creative Director and Exhibition Filmmaker – we thank him for trusting Nina’s vision and building a team around her, and encouraging her to multi-skill to deliver diverse content

Liam Hevey – lead on Graphics Production, Graphic Novel commission, and the print production of the large wall graphics;

El Estudio – lead on developing the Graphic Identity for the exhibition and campaign 

Kenji Takahashi – lead on the exhibition’s Audio Visual Systems Design: an enormously talented designer with great perceptiveness and an eye for detail 

Craig West – Exhibition Lighting Design

Alice Houghton and Rebecca Wymant from Shape Arts amongst many others – were brilliant researchers on exhibition production and procurement, as well as exhibition logistics

For the fabrication we thank François Boisson, who realised the large wooden letters and the Keith Armstrong funeral shroud table, providing the base and structure for the gilded table top

Gail Lawther, quilt-maker and Abi Morgan, flag-maker at Flag Studio for fabricating the wonderful set of large banners, with digital embroidery on the border sashes by Pete Tarrant and Sara Sodnomjamts

The install crew included David ‘Dave’ Davenport, Mathew ‘Matt’ McEvely, Michael Stephen ‘Kebb’ Webb, François Boisson, Liam Hevey, David Hevey on exhibition install in Venice, suported by Alice Houghton on logistics.

Cam Simcox, Jack, Alice Houghton and her dad were instrumental for driving and delivering the artworks and install kit from Folkestone to Venice.

The boatyard owner was extremely helpful and supportive during the install; and thanks also to Pier Paolo Scelsi, curator at CREA for organising logistics at the Venice side.

Nina Shen is the founder and director of CT20, as well as a multi-disciplinary artist. She is a qualified architect (a chartered member of the RIBA), with a track record in delivering daring, ambitious and high-profile exhibitions for CT20 and other organisations such Shape Arts. Nina is the curator and arts producer on all CT20 projects and productions. She is also an artist film-maker and story-finder who leads on all CT20’s hyper-local engagement projects. 

Coming soon:

‘How I designed the DAM in Venice’, a blog series by Nina Shen about the creative process behind the design and the individual elements of the exhibition.