Fantastic Voyage Installation Diary: Days 16-18 & Show Time!

DSC_1102As I was working up until 6pm on the evening of the opening and had no time to wash or change or any of that nonsense and I had no time to post here. In. When youre doing this sort of work, whatever amount of time you have at your disposal, you will fill it. An exibition of paintings isa bit different, for, even though there always seems to be a 100 thing to do -email lists, posting invitations, the opening night refreshments, posters, photographer, labels, numbers, what to wear, biographies (all of which take ten times longer than you think) – the paintings themselves are ideally and usually finished (ideally because paintings work best if they are a world unto themselves rather than being objects designed for exhibit).

I am finding out that with my work being semi-organic I can just keep going and this is something for me to take into account the next time round. Do I keep going?Could I keep going through the opening?Through the show itself?That idea tickles me actually and I may fool with it in future but I had spent weeks in this enclosed space walking around bent at the waist, climbing, dodging, ducking so I was exhausted by the time the opening came around. In fact for a week after the opening I dreamed every night that I was sleeping in the installation and I would keep waking up thinking I was in it and trying to figure out which part of the installation my bedroom wall was. That got to be a little freaky but it has just about stopped now…

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I was still a bit worried about health and safety as this is the first piece I have made that visitors enter into. Sandra at Garter Lane suggested I get people to sign a waiver not just to cover our asses but as an integral part of the artwork. When you sign the waiver you take responsibility, become part of it. I thought it would take ages to run one up but I managed to find a jpg of one used by Carsten Höller for his 2012 immersive show Experience which I converted to text and adapted. As it turns out the waivers and the health and safety signs ramp up the anticipation a bit too.

I wasn’t stressed about the opening until the final afternoon when I realised that I had no idea how the opening was organised, if there was staff?wine?speeches?I had been told not to worry but I ran off and got the waivers and health and safety signs printed and laminated myself and started cleaning up the front gallery a bit. I have a tendency to do everything myself as experience has often taught me its the only way to be sure things are done. In this case I needn’t have worried as Ania had it under control.

DSC05496bIt was a great night with a good turnout and I was delighted to have friends travelling from all over to attend. As the director Janie was off volunteering at a festival, second-in-command Ania gave a speech which Janie had managed to write between her adventures. Then I gave a speech too. I hadn’t prepared anything but I felt it important to nail down why The Rogue Gallery & Studios are so important to our town. The gist of it is though the gallery is a bit rough around the edges compared to local art centres like Garter Lane and GOMA, The Rogue is important as a haven for developing artists and for experimenting with various projects and ways of connecting rather than for showing work in a traditional way. I will do a post on The Rogue itself soon.

With the show up and running then I had to think about the invigilators and what they need to do eg turn on lights and sound to print off waivers when they run out. Again the Rogue have had it under control. I still drop in most days to meet friends,  hang out and check the installation is holding up and change batteries on some of the lights etc.

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One day I had arranged to meet friends Catherine and Alan. While I was talking to them another man turned up. As they seemed familiar with him I thought he was a friend. It turned out he is a well known Irish comedian and actor David McSauvage who was doing a show in Waterford that evening. He is known mostly for his satirical TV show Savage Eye which was broadcast after I gave up my TV so I had no idea he was ‘someone’. He left a good review!

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I also had to go back to work at Garter Lane which was up to its eyeballs in the childrens festival Sprog and write a couple of pieces for other artists so I feel I havent had a chance to breath let alone write a post until this weekend. The next thing for the Fantastic Voyage is an artists talk which Janie has suggested for the last day. I am not sure what form it will take but I will have to decide this week..  also want to make a sign for the front window of the gallery which I am going to do right now…

For those of you farther afield who are wondering what in the hell the Fantastic Voyage is, I will post pictures and videos after it closes. Suffice to say it is a journey through the gallery space that brings the viewer face to face with the world…

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