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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.