Hell, my name is Ken Simons and I am the Art Handling Manager at Tate Liverpool. Me and the team are working hard on producing our new exhibition Alice in Wonderland. Along with the curators we have been working on this for some time, planning the building preparation, the logistics and finally the installation. It’s a complex exhibition spread over 2 floors and comprising many artworks and archive materials.

On our 4th floor we have carpeted galleries in deep rich coloured rooms displaying Pre Raphaelites, Surrealists, British Surrealists, a library of many Alice books and the original Dodgson Manuscript. Indeed one half of our 4th floor gallery is presented like a mesmerising maze with modern and contemporary works nestled behind every corner.  My builders found it fascinating, laying the odd geometry out in chalk lines on the gallery floor. 

Building Wonderland Maze

Curiouser and curiouser: Tate Liverpool’s dockside gallery presented as a maze for the first time

I’m sure Alice would have been very curious!

And on the ground floor we have several installation pieces including a new piece in our collection by Jason Rhoades displayed at Tate for the first time in Liverpool.  This impressive piece is large neon piece which was very complicated to install. We worked with representatives of the gallery and the estate along with a specialist neon company who helped us realise the piece in our gallery. 

Building Wonderland Jason Rhoades NeonNeon

Ken installing Jason Rhoades’s spectacular neon work displayed at Tate for the first time since acquisition

Because our buildings were originally built as warehouses we often face structural challenges when installing complex pieces of artwork.  This piece comprises of approximately 40 neon words which are to be hung from the ceiling. Unfortunately we can’t fix directly into the ceiling as it is old brickwork so we have had to construct a metal frame to hold the neons. Perhaps you can see this in the photos.  One of the other challenges with neon is electrically it can be a little unsafe so we have to build in safety systems to deal with this. 

Building Wonderland Neon

Unpacking and hanging each neon for Rhoades’ work

Back to the 4th floor we have other large installations to exhibit. Our team are busy everywhere as there is much to do. I’m sure I spotted a white rabbit on my tail muttering I’m late , I’m late. I know the feeling! 

Building Wonderland bright walls

Preparing a part of the 4th floor. The walls are most unusual and brightly coloured

We have a large installation by Ruppersberg which is another new piece to Tate and displayed in Liverpool for the first time. It’s a semi interactive piece, an installation to help you make a book. 

Building Wonderland Maze The Never Ending Story

Create your own story with Allen Ruppersberg, The Never Ending Story

© Allen Ruppersberg

I love all the words, the literature that surrounds and permeates the show. Whilst I was working on the Rhoades I felt literally surrounded by words.  It’s a wonderful Wonderland that we have created. As long as that white rabbit doesn’t catch me. I hope you can visit the show.

Comments

bowlingatvinny

Good luck to the 'pool. Meanwhile for further free-wheeling absurdisms check out my own blog wonderland, featuring 'Cream' a personal-sensational (re)view of Tate St Ives current Indiscipline of Painting exhibition. It's mad as a tea-pot.

bowlingatvincent.com

ken.simons

Hi Anna

Sorry for not replying earlier its been a busy week since we opened Alice in Wonderland. Thanks for your website link it looks an interesting site, i`ve passed the link on to my colleagues here. Regarding a picture from the blog. I don't think there would be any problem with this but could you please contact our Marketing Officer - jennifer.collingwood@tate.org.uk - who will be able to help you with your request.

Our curators devised the concept of the exhibition which I have included.

This exhibition explores the influence of Lewis Carroll`s timeless novels Alice`s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass on the visual arts.

Since their publication, artists have taken inspiration from Carroll`s novels, his characters and themes, exploring ideas such as the journey from childhood to adulthood, scale and perspective, and, in the contemporary period, his approach to text itself, to language, meaning and nonsense. The exhibition presents works that have direct references to the novels alongside those which show new interpretations and subtle allusions.

In the design and build of the exhibition we have tried to enhance the experience of the exhibition by building a surprising maze of rooms in the modern and contemprary sections and using deep rich colours in the rooms with earlier works and the books.

I hope this helps with your request and do hope you or some of your colleagues may be able to visit us.

Thanks Ken

ken.simons

Hi Vincent

Thanks for your best wishes. The exhibition is open now and looking very good. I hope you might be able to visit and perhaps review. My only sorrow is that the white rabbit played croquet and not cricket.

Thanks Ken