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Liz West Solo Presentation Install Diary (Part 1)

Sunday, 22 September 2013

DAY 6 of Install – On Brown and Violet Grounds

Day 6 of install was super busy and the most productive yet. It was a Saturday, which meant I got the help of the lovely Mark Devereux who knows a thing or two about curating. We systematically went around each work and element of the show to refine and finish it. We started by fixing the banner and hanging it back up. Job done! Lets hope it holds this time…
Next we concentrated on my newest work (the one I talked about in yesterdays post and the trouble with the cables). We decided to re-make it AGAIN as the black slug of a cable cover interfered with the work too much, so it needed a minor adjustment – all will become clear when you see the piece.
Next I played around with the giant mirror I brought with me. Below is a sneak peek at what I did with it. Although I must add that I decided not to use it in the end as it complicated the work, even though it was rather mesmerising seeing the reflections of the ceiling.

While we were installing, Mark insisted on having a break…

The third work was our next concentration. Without giving too much away, the problem with this piece has been the mass of wires trailing across the space to connect all the light elements. I have been testing this work all week and no configuration looked finished or right. In the end, I started again, repositioned all the cables and moved the work out into the space more. Below are some taster photos of SOME of the wires and the circular fluorescent bulbs I will be using:

We ended the day by hanging the framed drawings and lighting them, difficult as I didn’t want the lighting for the drawings to take away from the intense glow created from the installations. Having said that I wanted the drawings to see seen, even when the daylight fades in the evening.
Day 7 will be all about Rogue, as I need to tidy and organise my studio ready for the Open Studios event next weekend. Details here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/508245645929783/

Saturday, 21 September 2013

DAY 5 of Install – On Brown and Violet Grounds

Yesterday was all about cables! An email arrived in my inbox at 9am (before I had got into Piccadilly Place to start work) – turns out the mass of sticklight cables that were entwined in a pile at the foot of one of my works was all too much for the site’s sparky…
He had, in my absence, completely taken apart the whole work, strung up all the cables with cable-ties and put the whole thing back together. At first I was mad! Then I saw what he had done… he had done a rather beautiful job of arranging the work (probably better than my original arrangement actually – although the work was going to be re-made anyway before the show opens). If I had wanted the tightly bound aesthetic then happy days and thank you to the sparky, but alas not! However, it did prove to me that if I was to ever show this piece again elsewhere I could trust someone else to install the work.
I began a debate with the electrician and site safety officer as to what I was allowed to get away with in terms of a pile of cables. It made my chuckle when his answer to the situation was ‘you arty types always want to do something different’… well yes sir, we do! The discussion ended by a compromise – I was allowed to untie the trusts and arrange the wires tastefully how I wanted, as long as they weren’t in a tangled mass (acting like a huge transistor apparently).
It took me most of the day to re-make the whole work, on the fourth attempt I got it right. On the first attempt I realised it was in the wrong spot on the floor. The second attempt collapsed. On the the third attempt the wires didn’t ‘look right’. Fourth time lucky! Phew!
In other news, I was able to see how some of the works came into their own when it was getting dark. Above is an example of how the lights in the work bounce around the space and create colour ways and interesting painterly hues on the white walls.

The delight of my day was the framed drawings coming back for the framers in Didsbury. They are gorgeous (even if I do say so myself). I was so nervous awaiting their delivery, but there was no need to worry. I had nine works framed in total; two to hang at Rogue Open Studios and the remaining seven for the show. It is the first time I have shown drawings and works-on-paper so I am looking forward to seeing how they work next to the installations and getting some feedback from you guys.

Oh, and just before I left the space, one side of that bloody banner fell down! The bain of my life at the moment. A job for tomorrow?

Friday, 20 September 2013

DAY 4 of Install – On Brown and Violet Grounds

I started the day painting a plinth I brought with me from my studio at Rogue and positioning a TV on top. This screen will show a newly commissioned video about my practice, my recent Arts Council England funding award and the new works I have been making. The video has been filmed and edited by my good friend Jamie Hyde, who filmed my ‘In Conversation’ as part of my Chroma solo exhibition at BLANKSPACE last July. This short film will also be shown in my studio space as part of Rogue Open Studios – on at the same time as On Brown and Violet Grounds.

I spent a little more time refining and rearranging the new and existing materials I had brought to Piccadilly Place with me. This included a giant mirror that I used in a past work. I may use it in a new piece, but so far it has remained in bubble-wrap:
Another job I had was to touch-up by re-painting my work from Barnaby Festival. While I was in my overalls and with roller in hand I also filled, sanded and painted the walls of the space. I am a real stickler for ‘shit-hot’ walls. It was drilled into me at art school, and for good reason. Beautiful, smooth walls allow there to be no distractions from the work.

The temptation is to hang one of my newly framed drawings on my newly painted walls that I prepared; however the walls will be part of one of my works, brightly reflecting the hues of emitted coloured light.

Colour theory is magic!!!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

DAY 3 of Install – On Brown and Violet Grounds

The first thing I was keen to see upon returning to Piccadilly Place yesterday morning was if the banner was still up. It turns out the sticky hooks I bought did the job and all is well.
Yesterday was all about refining and rearranging what I had laid out and devised the day before. I am literally drawing in the space, moving each element of the installation a foot or two until I am satisfied it works in harmony with the details and feel of the Piccadilly Place unit.
In one particular work (I don’t want to give too much away – so I am afraid all you can see is this weeny snapshot below), reflections of the ceiling are multiplied when the viewer explores the work and looks into the mirrors laid over the light source. This piece also draws attention to the grimy concrete floor by spreading coloured light outwards onto it. This work was devised from a drawing which I made earlier this summer.
In another work – that I spent a few hours tweaking, the light source is partially covered allowing for a painterly outcome.

The third work has come directly from this years Macclesfield’s Barnaby Festival, where I was commissioned to make a new work through their Arts Council England supported programme. Later in the week I will re-position and re-interpret this piece within Piccadilly Place. So far the three light-boxes have been rewired and plugged in to see how much light they throw out in their new home. It is still to be decided where they will be positioned in the vast space.

The forth and final installation work in ‘On Brown & Violet Grounds’ will take its shape during my 10 day ‘residency’. I have been playing with the sticklights (which make up this piece) making them into different configurations. I am really pleased with how these trials are turning out, but am keeping the outcome a secret, for now!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

DAY 2 of Install – On Brown and Violet Grounds

Day two of install was my first full day in the space. Feeling unashamedly undaunted by the space of the empty unit at Piccadilly place I set about arranging my materials. By dropping them in the location where I thought they may be needed would help me start work with a clear mind – albeit an organised one. My pile of ‘stuff’ was much bigger than the below image suggests, this is just a glimpse.

I decided to arrange all my sticklights against a wall in order to see the range of colour I had (the photo below shows a selection). Not only did this saturate and illuminate the space – as intended, but gave me a real-life colour chart to pick from when selecting what colours I needed for the installation/light work. As it reached around 5.30/6pm and the light outside became darker, the lights really popped and came into being.
This is exactly why I have decided to open the space to the public on show days from 1-9pm – this will allow people to see how the change in light outside effects the work inside. I would say the best time to come will be early evening.
The biggest problem of the day came in the form of a 13ft banner that I had printed to hang in the most prominent window of the space, hoping that the commuters coming in and out of Piccadilly train station would see. I have to admit that I never thought about reaching the highest point in the tall window to hang the damn thing. After a few inquiries (begging) I found a fellow with a super tall ladder and my worries were seemingly over. I had a wander down to the shops and bought some sticky back hooks to hang the vinyl banner – ideal! It then took a few hours to hang the thing straight and get it looking tidy. Tears were cried…

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

DAY 1 of Install – On Brown and Violet Grounds

Today I hired a large van and drove to Macclesfield to de-install and collect my special commission made for this years Barnaby Festival. It has been in the Grosvenor Centre now for 3 months and seen by over 3000 people. Not bad!
I felt sad and a bit emotional taking it down as I really enjoyed being part of the Barnaby Festival. It was well organised and a pleasure to be part of. I received excellent feedback from other artists, the public and organisers.
I would have been far more upset had I of been taking it apart to go directly into storage. However, instead the work was being packed up and driven to Manchester (by me) to be part of my upcoming solo presentation ‘On Brown & Violet Grounds’ which opens in 10 days time (25th September  – 2nd October). My home for the next week (and a bit) will be Piccadilly Place  – over the new footbridge as you come out of Manchester’s Piccadilly train station.

I then collected yet more ‘stuff’ from my studio at Rogue in the van – lighting, coloured bulbs, plinths, cables, TV, paint, acrylic sheets, etc ready to be transformed into new work.

I also had a little time to set up some new works-on-paper on my trestle table ready for the Open Studios next week (opens 27th Sept and continues over the weekend). At the end of the day I craved a take-away and had a lovely bath. The delight of install!!!


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This entry was posted on September 22, 2013 by .
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