Putting on a show

L’Esprit Insolite, at the Casino de Bagnoles de l’Orne, is the first exhibition I’ve done in decades, and the first where I’ve had to mount the pictures myself since my graduate show. The secret to making it all go smoothly? Make sure you have the help of some strong women.

Sue Riley, my co-exhibitor, has a lot of experience with this sort of thing. “It always looks like hell for the first hour,” she said. Things weren’t helped by that carpet! Fortunately, the huge throne was later removed to a place of safety by the Casino staff.

For various reasons, I’m banned from lifting heavy stuff. And my trusty wife, Trish, has damaged her knee. But even hobbling about strapped into a brace she was determined to haul the gear in from the van. And our friend Clare selflessly volunteered to help (thanks Clare!) – and not just with lifting and carrying. She and Trish provided a lot of valuable insights in terms of where the pictures should go, and in what order. It’s always good to have another set of eyes on this sort of thing.

A lot of Sue’s work is heavier, and in a couple of cases larger, than my pictures. Fortunately, she enlisted the help of Kate, Maryse and Sophie. So there we were, six women doing all the heavy lifting and me … well, watching.

There’s still a little to do, including replacing blown light bulbs. But on the whole we were done in a couple of hours – ready for tomorrow’s vernissage.

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