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The Installation Process

The long wait is finally over – after seven, almost eight, modules and a number of years my first exhibition is hanging on a wall and the first visitors have been in to see it. OK, some of those were friends who were coerced into it or bribed with the offer of a drink at the bar but those are actually my images on the wall of an exhibition site!

The hanging of the images was, as I expected, very fiddly and frustrating but not as bad as I’d expected. Because of the method of hanging that was mandated by the Centre it was difficult to get the images level but a spirit level app on the ubiquitous smartphone was surprisingly effective. The biggest problem was the vertical hanging cable method. These cables were made of a fairly stiff plastic material with a sliding clip to take the crocodile mounts. These clips were slightly stiff to move so trying to move them a millimetre ended up in a movement ten times that so I’d need to go back and try again to get them level.

More annoying was the surplus cable which had to be rolled up so that they wouldn’t be visible hanging beneath the images. Because of the stiffness of the cable these coils of surplus material had a mind of their own and instead of lying parallel to the wall would rotate and push one side of the image away from the wall. Lots of insulating tape tended to fix that problem but over the past week since I hung the images two or three of these coils have worked lose so I need to go in regularly to maintain the correct hanging of the images.

It’s no worse than I expected so I can’t really complain though I would still have preferred to be able to mount directly to the wall. Having said that, I totally understand the Centre’s reluctance to allow it. One aspect that did work well were the polystyrene floaters as I called them – those small tubes of polystyrene that I’d placed at the four corners of the Foamex mount so that all four corners would stay at the same distance from the wall even on the vertical hangers. Apart from the aforementioned issue with the surplus cables this was a success and created the floating effect that I wanted.

The “Opening Night” was fun even if it was on the second evening. It simply consisted of a group of coerced invited friends and family for drinks and canapes in the bar area. This contained three images which can be seen being hung in the second image above. The arch to the right in that image lead to the main area where most of the images were displayed. some of which can be see in the bottom left image.

We didn’t have exclusive access to the bar area so other casual visitors were present and it was interesting to watch their reactions as well. Not surprisingly the general comments from friends was complementary but some interesting comments were made. Most of them totally understood the theme once they’d read the information board and some were coming out with observations that I hadn’t thought about, particularly about the consistent use of light.

Another thing that was successful according to these early comments was the way the images floated just off the wall creating a portal-like effect. A number of the guess commented on its effectiveness in giving the impression that the viewer could step through the boundary into the other area, something that I’d envisioned when I thought about the hanging and mounting of the images.

All in all I’m happy and pleasantly surprised with the installation and its effectiveness but we’ll see if I still feel that way in four weeks time when I come to dismantle the exhibition.

One final note – I have to say again the the staff at the Old Court were fantastic. It was my responsibility to do the actual hanging but they were so helpful with everything that I needed.

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