My intention was to write up about installing the exhibition straight away, when I came home. I started to do this but realised my brain was just a bit ‘frazzled’, so I just loaded the photos. It was a realization that it has been quite an intense process, in particular the previous 24-48 hrs with packing things up and checking I had everything, trying to think about what else I might need, considering contingencies, packing the car, then checking again.
We got there for 10am as arranged. The previous artist was taking down their exhibition, which gave us space for unloading everything from the car. From the time we started to actually hang work to finishing took 3 ½ hours. I have never previously hung an exhibition so it was a steep learning curve and was certainly made easier with the help of Donna, the gallery owner. The hanging system was simple and straight forward to use. We were glad we remembered to take tape measures and spirit levels – they were invaluable. It was also useful that, Jackie – the previous artist, had mentioned, when we visited her ‘event’, that it was helpful to have ‘D’ rings on the frames, as the system hooks would go easily into these making hanging the work and getting it level more straight forward. I made sure all my framed pieces had ‘D’ ring and it did make a huge difference.
It became apparent how useful my previous planning and the model making, to consider curation, had been. Going into the space I was able to say straight away, this goes there, that goes there and they go over there! So everything pretty much went to plan, though I learnt that the thing I hadn’t considered was the length of the hanging system wires. So the piece, ‘That’s just how it is’, which consists of 11 paintings and that I intended to hang as grid (a grid with a space – a broken grid- a reference to an order broken) became an issue. In my planning I knew the paintings would physically fit, but I hadn’t factored in the hanging wire not reaching low enough to hook on the ‘D’ ring of the bottom work. There was a lot of nudging and tweeking to try and make it work, but it became apparent that it would require a re-think. I thought back to my intentions in planning stages of the work. In a blog post about this in May last year I wrote-
‘ In my current thinking I would if possible hang them in a grid of 3 x 4, with one obvious gap. Each painting would be a fragment of the overall shadow from each willow. My intention would be that they do not match or ‘properly’ fit together, and perhaps that they could be hung in a different configuration each time. The grid as a reference to order has been broken.’
From this I have drawn from the words ‘could be hung in a different configuration each time’, and decided on a different configuration. So we hung them 2 deep by 6 in length with the space in the bottom row. And I have to say it seemed to work really well in that space. I also started to think about how the location of the space in the group felt more ‘right’ and gave the piece a greater coherence.
So we got there in the end. I was very pleased with the out come and the signage Donna had done for me on the wall gave a professional touch. It was strange to then have to come away and leave the work, in particular my willow sculptures, but time for them to have a different life.