Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Contemporary Heritage Curator's Blog: Installation

A blog then, this is my first and new to me. Let’s see how it goes.

I’m Rebecca Alexander, formally Keating. I’m the Visual Arts and Project Officer at Mid Pennine Arts and the curator of Contemporary Heritage.

Only a handful of days until installation week. Can it really be nearly here? People from around the country will all be descending on Towneley Hall on Monday 6 September to start installing The Work. A veil of mystery shall remain as to what the artworks are but if you just cannot wait for the launch on Saturday 11 September then I would come to Towneley on Mon 6 or Tue 7 to catch a sneak preview of ‘the work’ being craned into place. I can’t wait to see the artwork at long last in the home for which it has been created.

I am being gently encouraged to write my blog.

As we all arrived on site on the morning of Monday 6th September there was an air of excitement, the day had finally arrived! This wasn't another site visit or meeting, this was it!

The installation team was made up of 12 people including Steve Wood and Rob Richards who are Towneley Hall Gardeners. Throughout the week they went above and beyond what was asked of or expected of them and they were absolutely fantastic to work with and great fun. They had a fantastic knack of turning up exactly when we needed them & every request, and there were many, was met with a smile. They made our lives easy and Geraldine was singing their praises all the way back to London!

It couldn’t have been a windier day and as sections of the tree were craned into place the wind whipped around us. Installation is a buzz. Seeing all our combined efforts and hard work over the many months come together and seeing the artwork created in situ is quite something.

The artworks are sited in the grounds as well as inside Towneley Hall and visitors got a great preview of the work as it came together over the week. This is the part I get nervous about. I have absolute confidence in Geraldine, the concept, and the quality and craftsmanship of the artwork but the artworks are ultimately made for visitors to Towneley so fingers were crossed as Geraldine, Mike (Towneley’s Senior Curator), and I chatted to visitors. The response from the start has been so touching, warming, very encouraging and positive.

 I have got to know Towneley Hall and Park and some of the staff quite well over the past year and I have come to recognise that the park has a real ‘at home’ feel to it; it feels ‘comfortable’, like an extension of peoples’ gardens. For these visitors, it is so important that they adopt the artwork, and many have said to me that it looks at home here and that is a wonderful starting point.
I wonder if it looks too at home and this is something I will keep considering but the work is so connected to the heart of this former family home that it is important that it does not appear incongruous.

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