These photographs of Schwitters artworks being installed in the galleries give an insight into the show’s final look as over 150 collages, assemblages and sculptures are hung and arranged, with many being shown in the UK for the first time in over 30 years.
Emma Chambers, Curator of Modern British Art, shares her experiences of surprises and challenges during installation:
It’s been an exciting couple of weeks as we unpacked the works for the Schwitters in Britain exhibition. As the works are coming from all over Britain and continental Europe this is the first time that we have seen some of them, and there are some surprises as we get a closer look at the everyday materials from which Schwitters made his work, inspecting the bus tickets in his collages to see which routes he took around London (the 73 bus was a particular favourite), and being able to examine exactly which objects are contained in the basket from which Untitled (The Basket Picture) gets its name (they include a lobster shell, a keyhole and a metal chain).
Although we start the installation with a detailed plan of where everything will be placed and which works will hang alongside each other, this often changes when we see the works themselves in the exhibition spaces and are able to assess their different scales and how their forms and materials interact. A particular challenge was installing the small sculptures where the groupings had to be carefully planned to make sure all the works were clearly visible, but that they also interacted in an informal way that was true to the playfulness that Schwitters brought to sculpture in his British period.