Behind the Scenes

I’ve been behind the scenes of the installation of two very important exhibitions this week.
Tuesday found me at my internship at Manchester Art Gallery, where I have been working with the curator Natasha Howes on their upcoming exhibition of West African art, We Face Forward.
Meshac Gaba, Ensemble, 2012

I helped to take 15 of Pascale Marthine Tayou’s Poupées Pascale out of their beautifully constructed crates and lay them out for condition checking and then helped to begin the process of condition checking the works. The amount of paperwork that goes along with each individual object that comes into and out of the gallery is mind boggling. Marthine Tayou alone has these 15 small and two 6 foot tall sculptures in the exhibition; each with its own tree-worth of paperwork. 

Later on, I took documentary photographs of the poupées and printed them for the collections management team, I really enjoyed the chance to get up close and personal with the works.

I also got chance to watch the technicians erecting Barthélémy Toguo’s giant chairs, which I will be helping the artist complete next week. They are massive.

Thursday found me in my part-time tutor position at Manchester Metropolitan University, where the Interactive Arts 2012 degree show was being installed. I met Jane, the third year tutor, who was in the unenviable position of curating the show and we walked round the Holden Gallery to see what stage the students were at. 

  A pair of students had were doing a research project on a tapestry that used to hang in the Holden, which is now in the special collection. They had arranged for the a wall hiding the giant picture frame which used to house the tapestry to be taken down, and were planning a Big Reveal of this on the opening night of the show. The gallery space was abuzz with technicians, staff and students as the covering panel was in the process of removal. 

The technicians were really struggling with taking the panel in front of the frame down, decided that it was too dangerous to do and stopped. Much to the dismay of the two students whose project it was. Jane got on the case and I reassured the boys that it would get done, that Interactive Arts always find a way.
Within an hour, the panel was down and the frame revealed. Brilliant. 

I spent the rest of the day helping students and calming them down, I noticed that one of them had taken an idea we discussed in a tutorial and really ran with it; which was really great to see. 

The last few hours I helped Jane with the last bits of curating , with the diversity of the works on show it is a really big job to work out were the pieces will go so they don’t clash, get in the way or overshadow each other.

The degree show runs Saturday 16 June – Wednesday 20 June, the Interactive arts show is in the Holden Gallery, Holden Cafe and the dark rooms off the Holden Gallery.  

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