Hello! My name is Ken Simons, I’m the Art Handling Manager at Tate Liverpool.
My job entails organising all the practical stuff associated with setting up our exhibitions including the design of the exhibition space to the exciting part - hanging the works on the walls. Of course, on my horizon is the opening of our big René Magritte exhibition and we are driving forward to that opening date with much speed and determination.
When I think of Magritte I think of paintings with blue skies but looking through the exhibition catalogue there are quite a lot of stormy skies as well. Building an exhibition can feel a little stormy at times, fortunately I work alongside a great team of experienced Art Handlers who will come in to help us weather the storm to produce an exhibition space to be proud of. At the moment we are finalising the design of the exhibition and liaising with builders and manufacturers to achieve the finish we want. This is often great fun, learning new things. We want to use dark grained wood finishes to some of the screens (the walls we’re building in the photographs), this references wood grain in many of Magritte’s paintings. However there are a few practical difficulties in using `live` wood in our galleries so I am exploring and learning about using various types of veneers to achieve the finish we want.
The next stage is getting the galleries prepared (which began last Monday) and then putting together schedules of deliveries, couriers and installation which are all quite a challenge and a major team effort. But ultimately we are all excited about getting the artworks here and seeing them in the flesh. We will need to be well organised as much of the artwork in the exhibition will be arriving from around the world with 40 specialist couriers.
I’m particularly keen to see some of the landscape/townscape based works .These look amazing and many of the images seem to have had so much influence on other culture. I seem to recall an album cover from the seventies by Jackson Browne that was influenced by Magritte. I think there was also a Jeff Beck album from the sixties but I never had this in my collection, I think it was an apple. Maybe one of you guys remember? Anyway I hope you can get to the exhibition. I think its going to be a good one.