In 2015 we were approached by Auckland Castle to install ‘Matyrs’, a four panel video piece by Bill Viola which borrows from the ‘Matyrs, (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) permanently shown in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
We had to find a way to install the monitors onto a structure that could only rest on the altar without being fixed in any way. After much designing and thinking, we came up with a solid substructure that wraps around the altar holding itself in place without fixings. The result is stunning.
Have a look at the Wallpaper article for the videos here and read the Guardian article here.
We were asked to install the first touring version of the famous Weeping Window poppy installation by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper at Woodhorn in 2015. The new location idea was for the poppies to spill from the winding gear structure that happens to be a scheduled ancient monument with the same rating as Stonehenge, meaning this was an extremely sensitive task to undertake from a conservation point of view for both the 5 thousand ceramic poppies and the structure it had to attach to. Not only this but the original Weeping Window was only 7m tall. The new location would be installed from 20 metres high. We installed it section by section and poppy by poppy from a 20m boom and completed the install in 6 days. Look at the BBC report here. Also take a look at this great short film from 14-18 NOW.
2014 saw us installing the ‘Screaming Steel- Art, War and Trauma’ exhibition at the Hatton Gallery which was a powerful show full of many amazing works and objects.
“An exhibition examining the response of artists and writers to the horrors suffered by soldiers in the First World War has opened at the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Screaming Steel: Art, War and Trauma (1914-18) looks at how industrialised conflict resulted in some of the most important British art and literature of the 20th century, producing figures such as Paul Nash, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.
It features loans from major London collections including the British Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Portrait Gallery and Tate.
Curator Amy Barker says: “The central focus is the emotional damage inflicted by the experiences of soldiers serving in France from 1914-1918. The use of creative media to capture this trauma; to attempt to recreate and communicate incomprehensible experiences, forms the narrative of the show”.
A significant loan from the British Library includes the original draft of the poem ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth,’ written by Wilfred Owen at Craiglockhart in Edinburgh, where he was treated for shellshock in 1917.
Accompanying it are notes by Siegfried Sassoon, the disillusioned war hero and poet who inspired and encouraged Owen during their time together at Craiglockhart.
Sassoon’s journal is also displayed, including a fair copy of his declaration against the war and notes on his political views. It was this declaration, read in the House of Commons in 1917, that led to him being sent to Craiglockhart.
A particularly poignant item is a small number of olive leaves taken by the burial party from the tree under which the poet, Rupert Brooke, was laid to rest on the Greek island of Skyros.
Brooke, famed for his words, ‘If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England’ died of septicaemia from an infected mosquito bite while on his way to Gallipoli in April 1915.
The exhibition also includes a series of lithographs by Paul Nash, prints by CRW Nevinson, paintings by George Grosz and William Orpen and two prints from the Otto Dix series ‘Der Krieg’.”
We were asked to refit, repaint and rehang the gallery space holding the Pitman painters’ work at Woodhorn in 2014. Making sure that the sequence of the paintings was kept in order, we redesigned the hang to be more sympathetic to the overall aesthetic of the collection as a whole. The new grey walls made all the difference to the gallery and really optimised the impact of the body of work. We also built the entrance space which had new graphics produced for it, and embedded a monitor into the wall which plays a history of the pitmen in their own words. iPads have been introduced into the gallery as a useful way to find out more about each painting using the map of each wall for the visitor to navigate.
When Vickers decided to donate the Challenger Tank that stood outside its doors for many years to the Discovery Museum, they realised that they had to make it safe to display. We were asked to build a fake crate to surround the tank which would do the job of protecting it from the passing public and protecting the public from the urge to climb on it and possibly fall off. The project was great fun and the illusion of the tank bursting out of its crate was quite startling.
We helped curate and install a show of schoolchildren’s work based on their understanding of mining history and practices in the area after looking at the Pitman Painters exhibition on permanent display at Woodhorn. David Whetstone reported on the show in The Journal saying, “Over a four-month period, more than 1,300 pupils from across the region visited Woodhorn, near Ashington, to study the paintings which are permanently on display there. Like the rookie artists in the 1930s, they were encouraged “to do” as well as look. The result is a new collection of 900 works of art, including paintings, sculptures and drawings, some done by individual children and some by groups.”
We were asked to hang a stunning collection of works by Constable and Turner and their contemporaries in February 2014. The exhibition is curated by Emeritus Professor Michael Rosenthal of the University of Warwick, one of the world’s foremost experts on the art of this period, Anne Lyles who is a leading authority on the art of John Constable and curated Constable: The Great Landscapes at Tate Britain in 2006 and Dr Steven Parissien Director of Compton Verney and editor of the accompanying illustrated book, produced by Tate Publishing.
We hung this show curated by Connor Mullan in January 2014 at the DLI in Durham. This exhibition has been mounted in coordination with the Royal Academy to celebrate their forthcoming publication ‘Maurice Cockrill’, a major monograph covering his life and career.