Time Machine includes many works that will be displayed amongst Manchester Art Gallery’s permanent collection galleries. There will be pieces placed in the Craft & Design gallery, the Victorian rooms and in the Pre-Raphaelite gallery. Each piece was inspired by the subject matter within the gallery. Cottonopolis, which relates to the tile case containg William de Morgan and Pilkington ceramics in the Pre-Raphaelite gallery, was installed today. How did we do it? Well, I’ll tell you.
The piece arrived in four crates and three soft bags. There were three technicians from Joana’s studio, four technicians working a gantry, over seven gallery employees, and the artist. Four cameras documented the process. That is the number of people we had in the Pre-Raphaelite gallery assembling Cottonopolis.
For this work to be installed the display case that houses the Pilkington tiles had to be shifted around a meter forward. The case, which is extremely heavy, was installed in 2002 when the gallery opened and was never moved again. Not until today.
Sections of the work came into the gallery one by one; each crate was brought down via the art lift, wheeled across the bridge and then into the gallery space. Once un-crated they were bolted together. The gantry was used to wench the top piece up and held it in place as the sections were bolted together.
The soft crates revealed lengths of cotton crochet, which were then wrapped around the tile base. There is a fantastic red and yellow heart dangling in the centre, the work is encrusted with ornamentation and is truly stunning in the gallery space.
Alexandra Christoff, Curatorial Assistant.