Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Just before my recent group show, I arranged with my fellow artists to meet and discuss the install. Now for me, installing work is no more of a trial than finding a good spot and hanging my piece on the wall, hopefully so that it stays.

I was blissfully innocent, until I attended my first group install at the art-school I decline to name, and watched in amazement as exhibitors arrived with spirit levels, tape measures, drills, cranes, statisticians, brain surgeons, all to appease our buffoon of a course leader who still said everything was at the wrong height.

I have had work installed by curators (one separated a diptych) and another placed my work next to a piece so beautifully drawn and exquisitely framed piece that I felt horribly inadequate.

But then, for Packing and Mourning, we met. I wanted to start the show earlier, but Shelton, a more experienced artist, an expert installer, builder, measurer and user of heavy machinery put her foot down. In fact, she seemed quite vexed, and was very firm with me. ‘What’s got into her?’ I thought.

In the run up to the install, people began to approach me with caution, as if someone had died. They’d hold my hand, do the sad-face and peer empathetically into my soul. ‘Good luck with the install,’ they’d say, with tears in their eyes. What’s the big deal, I wondered. It’s only an install. My friend had her install the day after mine, and I began to join in, phew yeah, installing hell, I’d say, and bravely lap up all the sympathy.

Then, on the actual day of the install, the lovely space where were showing our work decided to let us in three after we’d agreed. Oh well…

Then, well I realised everyone else was treating this complicated and difficult task with the dignity and gravitas it deserved. Young was taking out screws and then replacing them, Eija was carefully, oh so carefully, selecting from an array of her beautiful prints, which then kept falling of the wall. Young was still drilling and things were tense when she used all the fishing line but I had some wire. These things matter.

Shelton was perched on a ladder she had ‘borrowed’ and was drilling, applying tape and helping us all. The counsellors arrived. We broke for lunch. There was more drilling, then some muted screaming and stifled sighs. Eija found a table. Shelton confiscated the drill (it’s for adults) and Young started drilling and undrilling again. Eija found and rejected one TV set for her film, then she and Shelton began to load the wide screen available in the space.

Eight men died. There was a riot. The language was anglo-saxon in origin. Damian smiled at my bunny picture. My ‘Travel Bag’ was expertly hung by Shelton. Eija had enough tissue paper to spare. The TV was being difficult, acting like a diva and  issued a list of demands after achieving full consciousness.

When we finished, somebody said innocently: ‘How was the install?’ I felt as if I had done my first marathon. ‘It was fine,’ I said. And it was. Eventually.

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Life drawing again.

Life drawing again.

Life Drawing

Life Drawing
Almost human