When you visit an exhibition, do you think about how everything got there? I don’t just mean how the work was made – although that is certainly something to consider too – I’m talking about how the work was installed.
Obviously, there is a lot of planning and organising that goes into an exhibition, but I know I hadn’t given much thought to how it actually gets put into the gallery space.
All that changed when I was lucky enough to get to go behind the scenes of the Gilbert & George exhibition and see the installation. There were crates that the pieces had arrived in, all kinds of tools and ladders, and of course a team of technicians working really hard to hang the work.
Gilbert & George’s work is quite big, but it’s made up of individual frames that all have to be unpacked, condition checked and hung in a predetermined order. I am glad I got to see behind the scenes, but I am even more grateful that I did not have to install ‘Balls: The Evening Before the Morning After – Drinking Sculpture ’(1972) which consists of over 100 individual photographs that have to be arranged in a very particular place.
I have so much respect for the installation team because there must be so much pressure and responsibility that comes with handling the work and they were still in high spirits. They did a great job and the exhibition looks fantastic.
There’s so much that happens behind the scenes that make an exhibition possible. Next time you’re in one, particularly if the work is really big or made up of individual parts, spare a thought for the people who had to install it. It’s not an easy job, but someone’s got to do it.
Charlie – Member of the Museum Collective