09 October, 2009

The making of an exhibition: part five -- the build

One week to go. Our two new exhibitions open Friday 16 October -- and over the last week or two, I've been in and out of Gallery One and Gallery Two, watching them transform from eerily echoing chambers of nothingness to beautifully laid-out exhibitions of art.

So here's my five-step guide to building a Joanna Quinn exhibition.

1. Paint

First job is to freshen up the walls and paint everything according to the exhibition plan (as seen in the first photo below). There's a splash of red in the Joanna Quinn gallery -- which you can see if you skip forward to the 'Laying Out' section. And if you're wondering what that note is on the second picture below, it's a message from Exhibition Organiser Martyn Lenton to someone called 'Triple D'. That's the name of the company doing the painting, not a nickname.

2. Bring up the artworks

Up until now, all Joanna's artworks have been safely stored in our Insight collection centre, following the condition checking process you read about the other day. Now, they emerge from their store -- the sketches, the drawings, the animation cels -- to be stacked on trollies by a team that includes two Exhibition Organisers, a Content Developer and even a Senior Exhibitions Organiser. This take places in our Kodak Gallery, hence the strange green railings and beach scene in the background. Bringing up the artworks is a delicate process, and much careful direction of trollies through lift doors ensues.

3. Lay the artworks out

With the artworks inside the gallery, Martyn Lenton and Michael Harvey place them on the floor according to their final positions on the walls. There are paper plans sellotaped up to show where everything goes -- you can see Designer Rob Derbyshire preparing one such plan below. This is Michael and Martyn's final opportunity to spot where things don't quite work and make changes to the layout. And sure enough, several of Joanna's sketches get swapped around at this stage.

4. Hang the artworks

By the time I came in on Monday, the hanging of the artworks had already been done, and the gallery was looking near-complete (albeit a bit gloomy -- the hanging of the lamps comes later). By now, our Joanna Quinn 'interactive' -- a hands-on presentation running on a PC inside a metallic stand -- had also been installed by Assistant Gallery Developer Sven Shaw: he's the man fiddling with wires below.

5. Apply the graphics

Two things here. First: apply the 'vinyl' graphics, which work very much like car window stickers -- peel off backing, stick onto wall. Of course, much more care needs to be taken with our stickers, to make sure they're straight and don't develop pesky air bubbles. The text-based titles (see the little "Archive" sticker in the photo below) are created by "a very expensive machine" which cuts the individual letters out of a plain red sheet.

The second job is the big graphics. We've got two in the Joanna Quinn gallery: the cuddly Charmin bear, and 'Flamenco Beryl' from Dreams And Desires: Family Ties. They're essentially giant posters that go up on the gallery walls like wallpaper. Apply glue with brush; lift and place (it's a two-man job); and then all that's left is the final satisfying task of smoothing everything down.

And that's as much as I've seen so far. Step six is hanging the artworks on loan from other institutions -- we have a Goya, two Lautrecs, two Gillrays and a Degat: all examples of art that has influenced Joanna's own style. More on that later.

Then comes step seven: adding the artwork captions, fixing the lights, cleaning up -- and then opening the doors to you.

There's a palpable buzz in the air now that we're only a week away from the grand opening. As the big day approaches, I'll have more updates for you (including the building of other exhibition, Neeta Madahar: Bradford Fellowship in Photography 2008-09). In the meantime, all the photos above, plus many more I couldn't squeeze in, are available as a set on our Flickr page.


edhead said...

Really looking froward to seeing this exhibition - it's superb that an independent animator is getting this exposure on such a large scale which is rather rare. Great blog!

Anonymous said...

It's a really great exhibition - simple interactive and great little viewing space...loved it!

hungeryjack said...

Nice post - beach scene wallpaper ..Keep Posting

beach scene wallpaper - 1024×768

Post a Comment