When you walk through the Love Lace exhibition its apparent how important lighting is to the successful display of these works. The Museum electrician Peter Hermon says
This was a unique exhibition to work on, we had more time to work on the lighting (and wiring) and the nature of the work was different, shadows were really important and the lighting needs more particular.
“In lighting Garden Party, the artwork at the entrance I stared working on the lighting idea based on a photo and planned to light the work from behind with a complicated rig I had built. That became obsolete when the object turned up. I put the lighting in from above after talking to the artist.”
Peter felt a great responsibility to get the lighting right, as he says:
When its somebody’s art the responsibility is higher, its double sided you have an obligation to show their work in all its beauty, but also you affect the way people view it. That doesn’t sit so easily, I’m changing the way people see their art.”
In lighting the work Another World Wide Web (2011), Peter says ” I like that the lights are brighter in some places, so it changes the yellow, in some places the colour is much more intense.”
Peter has found it hard to say which of the artworks he likes the most, some provided real challenges to light like Jenny Pollacks work A Brief History of Time. Peter explains:
“Her work was created to be viewed from both sides. Our exhibition space didn’t allow that. The artist ideally wanted the work lit from behind, which would then fade out and also create a silhouette. Seeing the work was about a garden and there are small trees on top of the paper I have created the effect of the sun, rising and setting. One light creates a dull wash over the work and then three lights progressively get further away like the angle of the sun.”
When asked about nominating a favorite work Peter said he found that difficult, but did like the ones with defined shadows because that gave him more to work with.
“One I liked in particular is located in an alcove, its a lace face, with a serious shadow behind it.” Peter created a unique way to light this work Marraine’s Memory an artwork about memory loss in the aged.
“I had to design a way to coordinate the light and a mirror. By just pointing the light down, you couldn’t get a good enough angle. Now the lighting goes into a mirror and the light on the object comes from the reflection.”
As Peter says “the best part of working on any exhibition is the collaboration”.*
*From an interview with Peter Hermon 9th August 2011