So, we are now a long way through the project of setting up the Magritte exhibition.

The culmination of lots of hard work from most of the team at the Gallery is only a few weeks away.  The building, painting and other preparation is almost complete and the arrival of Magritte’s paintings began on 6 June.

Achieving this was a little stressful at times despite being a relatively simple plan. If you read my first blog you will know that we were looking into using veneers (wood coverings) as a design element in the exhibition.  We have now managed to achieve this although at one stage we had an amusing scenario of many samples of coloured, textured and varnished veneers adorning the walls like a row of pictures - very surreal. I wonder whether Magritte would have approved.

Magritte building the exhibition Liverpool Art Handling Team
Tate Liverpool's Art Handling team meet to review the floor plans for René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle

We also followed the veneer with a procession of samples of carpet, paint colours and materials all needing careful consideration. Christoph and Darren worked hard on making these choices. Although I always get a bit twitchy at these times with half an eye on the time schedule. However the finished galleries look great ready for all the paintings.

Magritte: building the exhibition. Darren Pih Co-Curator and Art Handlers
Darren Pih, Co-Curator of René Magritte updating the Art Handling team

Our whole team of Art Handlers are now on site and have begun work on the installation.  It’s always good to bring our team in again. They are a great bunch of people, many characters, many different backgrounds, and many talents.  Many good friends and people committed to our work.

Magritte building the exhibition plans and bowler hat
Essential items required for any René Magritte planning meeting – diary, floor plans, sample wood veneers and of course, a bowler hat!

The first thing we do is meet.  Lots of the team have been working on other projects so we need to bring them up to speed on the Magritte exhibition. Our curator Darren Pih will talk through the show and we will discuss the plan with everyone. Then I will pontificate about some particular important points of operation (I think the team kinda expects this). And then at last the Paintings arrive!

Magritte building the exhibition work delivery
A René Magritte work arriving in the gallery, can you guess which one it is yet?

Yes. The time we have all been waiting for. Waiting for the first crate rolling out from our goods lift.  Art handlers, Couriers, Conservators, Curators, and Registrars wait like expectant parents as the crates arrive.  My colleague Wendy Lothian, Tate Liverpool’s Registrar will be blogging next Thursday about her role in producing the exhibition.

Magritte building the exhibition unwrapping The Annunciation
Ken and the Art Handling team carefully unwrapping Magritte's The Annunciation 1930

Then it’s all kinda weird and surreal because the next two weeks are about focusing on the careful work of handling and hanging the exhibition. There is little time to look. Little time to absorb the paintings until the exhibition is ready and open. Then, its party time!


Ken Simons

Hi Mick

Thanks for your good wishes. We are all very busy now with lots of important paintings arriving at a pace. But the spaces and paintings are beginning to look great. I hope you enjoy the show.

Ken Simons

Hi Deborah

Thank you for your comment. Yes it is exciting, watching some of the iconic paintings appearing on our walls. With lots of busy people unpacking, checking and hanging the works. Just over one week to go now! Hope you enjoy the show .

Best wishes Ken

Deborah Wintle

Very exciting!!! Cant wait for openings(and party)!!


I would love to be working with you on this wonderful project!

Ken Simons

Hi Luiza

Thanks again for your comment. I hope you can get to see the exhibition.

Best wishes Ken

Mick Cunningham

Coming up to Liverpool from Birmingham to see the exhibition . What a fantastic show it will be, good luck to all of you .Best wishes Mick Cuningham

chris fairrie

im very much looking forward to this show.

will there be a list of the works to be featured available before the exhibition takes place? im curious to see these more adult images too. lol

regards, chris f

Ken Simons

Hi Chris

Thanks For your message. Good to hear your coming to the show. Unfortunately we don't publish a list prior to the show. However you might want to look on the Tate Magritte website which may have more information that you might find useful. There will also be the Catalogue available in our shop which you could look at before you visit.

I hope you enjoy the show.

Best wishes Ken