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Making the Steve McQueen Year 3 "A Portrait of Hope" Exhibition

13 November 2019 16:11

Steve McQueen's Year 3 exhibition at Tate Britain is perhaps one of the most talked about installations this year. The logistics surrounding photographing seventy-six thousand year 3 pupils, in individual class photographs at their school, is mind boggling, but so too is bringing all the photos together so that they are displayed precisely as McQueen and Tate Britain required.

The impact of "A Portrait of Hope" exhibition is indescribable because of the its vastness. From floor to ceiling the Duveen galleries are covered in a myriad of school photos, with image upon image of 7 to 8 year olds in their clothes or school uniforms looking at the camera with an innocence that only childhood can bring. And whatever your feelings about the longevity of the emotional response to the exhibition, you cannot fail to be overwhelmed by the impressive of the installation as it draws the visitor in to examine and imagine the children presented.

MC Designers were excited to be given the opportunity to work with Steve McQueen and Tate Britain to make this ambitious installation a reality.

What Did MC Designers Do?

With over 3000 photographs to be hung in a short period of time, planning was again the key to success for MC Designers as they took on the build of this installation.

To ensure that McQueen and the Tate Britain curators were happy with the proposed layout, MC Designers created a replica of the installation's wall in an area adjacent to the Duveen Gallery. This wall included the painted mdf panels, all the split battens, and an example of a hung framed photograph. From the mocked up wall Steve McQueen and Tate Britain's curators could clearly see how a wall of photographs would look. After discussions on the proposed layout MC Designers received the go ahead to create all the walls for the photographs to be hung on.

As the previous exhibition was dismantled, packed away, and labelled by MC Designers, the new exhibition was being created by them because there was only 4 weeks to finish the installation. Extreme care was taken as the panels and battens were fixed in place to ensure that the battens were straight and evenly distributed as to the artist's requirements. This was crucial so that all 3000 photographs were precisely in the right place so that the visitor could focus on the children, rather than being distracted by a poorly hung photograph, or misaligned frames.

To complete the installation took time and precision. MC Designers experience, expertise, and excellent collaborative skills ensured that the installation matched precisely what Steve McQueen and Tate Britain had imagined. The impact of the exhibition is indescribable, and was facilitated by the outstanding project management and proficiency of MC Designers.