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Steve McQueen's Year 3 "A Portrait of Hope" Exhibition

Date:  November 2019

Requirements:

  • Exhibition works
  • Survey of the Duveen Galleries
  • Creation of panels on which photographs were hung
  • Close coordination with the artist Steve McQueen and the exhibition's curators to create the installation
  • Provision of Mock Up
  • Interior design and decorating

Tate Britain required skilled and competent contractors to create the large exhibition "A Portrait of Hope". One of the main challenges was ensuring that all 3000 photographs could be hung correctly throughout the Duveen Galleries so that the visitor's eye was not distracted by misalignment, nor by any joints behind the images.

What did MC Designers do?

Given the size of the exhibition it was essential that both Steve McQueen and the curators were happy with the way in which MC Designers were proposing to create the panels on which the photographs were to be hung. The initial meeting with Steve McQueen and Tate Britain took place almost a year prior to when the exhibition opened. Following this initial meeting MC Designers created a mock up of the proposed floor to ceiling battened supported panels in a private area adjacent to the Duveen Galleries. With one of the final photographs hung on the wall both Steve McQueen and the curators were able to visualise what visitors would see when they entered the exhibition. From this mock up discussions ensued as to how the batten rebates and panels could be finished so that they were clear of any join lines. 

The time line for the works was 4 weeks. As work started on one end of the Duveen Galleries Mike Nelson's "The Asset Strippers" exhibition was being dismantled, labelled, and packed away for transportation to its next destination. This provided an additional challenge because Nelson's exhibits had to be protected from any dust that was being generated by the creation of the panels.

Throughout the project, the team from MC Designers completed the:

  • Survey of the Duveen Galleries prior to onset of works,
  • Creation of a floor to ceiling mock up,
  • Removal of Mike Nelson's exhibition to create space for the installation,
  • Installation of106 linear metres of 4.5m high 12mm Class B fire rated MDF panels fixed on 5no. 12mm class B MDF split battens,
  • Creation of 1mm deep rebate for battens on panel faces each with Tate Britain's identifier.
  • Creation of each rebate for tape and jointing where panels abut to give smooth finish.
  • Painting all panels with white emulsion, roller applied.
  • Restoration of galleries to original state.

Results

The Tate Britain benefitted from a completed installation that made the ideal background for Steve McQueen's vast array of photographs .