Final Exhibition

You will need to plan your final exhibition carefully.  Consider how your artworks will interact?  Do you want to create a special space?  Or perhaps an installation?  Or do you want it to be in a traditional exhibition format?  Choose according to the style of your art.

Choose works  for your exhibition that show:

  • Technical competence
  • Appropriate use of materials, techniques and processes
  • Relationships among the works
  • Well resolved work in line with stated intentions
  • Consideration for the overall experience of the viewer.

IB Exhibition Requirements

Exhibition Text:  For each piece, students must write a brief exhibition text which states title, medium, size and an outline of original intentions (500 character max per artwork)

Exhibition Overview Photos:  Students must submit 2 photos of the overall exhibition to help the moderator understand the overall layout and experience.

Curatorial Rationale: Written statement specifically addressing the body of work chosen for the exhibition, explaining the intentions of the student and considers the presentation of the work using curatorial methodologies.


Exhibition Texts

In addition to the title, dimensions and medium, you can write a maximum of 500 characters (with spaces) as a caption to each Artwork submitted for assessment.

NOTE: When your Exhibition texts are submitted – it is into a word box online – so it will not submit if there are excessive words.  Spaces count within the 500.


  • A brief context for the artwork.  “This is my interpretation of… influenced by…..’
  • References to any sources or artists which have influenced the piece
  • Try to connect the work to other works or your overall theme/general idea
  • Make it clear if you are deliberately appropriating (copying) images from elsewhere.
  • Cite images if you have copied/drew directly from

Here are some examples of Exhibition Texts that were from a student’s 7 submission. This student was able to not only explain her intentions with each piece by connect them particularly well to her overall exhibition theme of ‘Home’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Exhibition Photos

Take your time and take excellent photos of your work.  Try to control the lighting and the background.  Use black fabric to create a blank background.  I have found day lighting (near windows or outside to be the best).  But you can also use photo lights to help create a bright setting.  Watch closely for shadows that may cover or hinder the view of the work.

Take one photo that best shows ALL of the work.  This will be the main photo.  You can also submit 2 close-ups or different views.  This is great for sculptures – you can add alternative views.  If the work is 2D try to take close-up of the strongest details that may not be closely viewed in the main photo.  However, since the submission is digital, the examiner is able to zoom.

Here are some photos of the student’s 7 submission.  You can see how effective it is so see the difference between the views of the sculpture – as well as how the close ups add value to the 2D pieces.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You also need to include 2 photos of your exhibition – which can be challenging depending on your venue.  Try to take photos that show as much as your exhibition as possible.  If you can take a photo of the entry – the view that people see entering your exhibit and then a close up of a particular area of interest, that would be ideal.  Also, you can divide your gallery into 2 views.

Curatorial Rationale

The Curatorial Rationale is similar to an artists’ statement, but refers specifically to the work selected for this exhibition rather than the general artistic output. Writing the Rationale is part of the process of self- reflection, decision making, and of understanding of the relationship between artist and audience.

This is where you must explain yourself.  And explain yourself well. All too often marks are lost by students who spent too much time explaining their intention with the works – and not enough time discussing how the works connect and how they are positioned in the gallery to highlight their connections.

To begin writing your CR, start brainstorming your thoughts and ideas of your two years of artwork.

  • What media do you work with? What interests you about work of this type?
  • What themes, concerns and ideas have you have explored in this work?
  • Is there a relationship between the media you use and the ideas that you work with?
  • What outside interests, artists, encounters or experiences have influenced your work?
  • What ties your individual pieces of work together into a cohesive body of work?
  • Is there an ‘intention’ behind the work; what do you want the work to achieve?
  • How do you want your audience to experience it?
  • How have your methods of display (how the work is arranged and presented) contributed to the viewer’s experience?
  • What is your vision for presenting this body of work (imagine you could have any possible space or display method)?


Then think about how and why you chose the specific works you did and how you set up your gallery.    If you only created the required number of art pieces, still consider them as a ‘choice’ and explain them as ‘chosen’ for your gallery.

  • What is the vision for presenting this body of work?
  • What are you hoping to achieve by presenting this body of work?  What impact will this body of work have on your audience? What are the concepts and understandings you initially intend of convey?
  • How have particular issues, motifs or ideas been explore, or particular materials or techniques used?
  • What themes can be identified in the work, or what experiences have influenced it?
  • How does the way you have exhibited your artwork contribute to the meanings you are trying to convey to an audience?
  • What strategies did you use to develop a relationship between the artwork and the viewer (for example to create visual impact)?
  • How does the way you have arranged and presented your artworks support the relationship and connection between the artworks presented?
  • What do you intend your audience to feel, think, experience, understand, see, learn, consider from the work you have selected for the exhibition and how you have selected to display it.
  • What art galleries have you visited that have influenced or inspired your decisions? How?
  • What curator’s have you read about and/or visited that have given you advice that you have considered in creating your exhibition?

Finally put it all together:

Break it down into 3 parts:

  • Overview, concepts, and ideas
  • Selection of works
  • Viewer Relationships

Overview, concepts, and ideas 

You set the stage, so to speak, introducing us to the exhibition, what it is about and what are the underlying themes or threads.

  • How did your theme come about?
  • What are the concepts, issues or ideas you have explored here and how are they linked in your work?
  • What experiences have contributed to the making of this work?

Selection of works

The second paragraph can be a general discussion of the works in the show, or you may choose to list and discuss each piece individually, making connections among them. Maybe there is a particular piece that is pivotal to the rest of the show and you discuss this one in relation to the others.

  • What materials and techniques have you used and why did you choose these?
  • Do the materials have an impact on the meaning of the work?
  • How do you justify your selection of works chosen?
  • How do they connect?

Viewer Relationship

The third part of the rationale can address the relationship with the audience and how the curatorial decisions you made may contribute to the viewers response.

  • How does the way the work is displayed, hung, otherwise presented contribute to how it communicates with the viewer?
  • How did you consider the arrangement of the works within the space that you have available?
  • What are the connections between the works – are they hung in sequence because of certain connections/ideas?
  • Do you have an overall vision for presenting this body of work?

NOTE:  Be HONEST when writing about your work.  Do not write fluff or make things up about your work.  Refrain from using words such as beautiful, amazing, gorgeous, etc. Your space is limited.  Stick to the facts, check your spelling and stick to the word count.