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The above link will take you to a video that I made detailing one of the most unique installations I’ve done in my career as a wallcovering installer. Below are some photos and descriptions of the job, but please be sure to view the video, which is about five minutes long and has a decent soundtrack.
The David Zwirner Gallery, in Manhattan, contacted us about doing an installation for the German artist Michael Riedel. The scope of the work was to install 16″ x 24″ posters, made up of about twenty different designs, in several unique arrays designed by the artist himself, in the two main rooms of the gallery on West 19th Street. The appliquéd walls would serve as the backdrop to the exhibit of his much larger, canvas-based artworks. It was stipulated, as well, that the posters had to be removed without damage to the walls at the end of the six-week exhibit.
Each array was represented on a sheet of paper on which Mr. Riedel had designed repeating patterns made up of groups of anywhere from four to ten individual posters. He also decreed that on some walls the arrays were to be multi-layered; that is, we were to install a group of posters, and then on top of them would be placed a second layer of posters. One area even included a triple layer. The small-scale representations of each wall’s patterns were presented to us solely as indications of what the artist wanted to see. They didn’t include measurements of any kind. Needless to say, there was a lot of figuring-out that we had to do before getting started, since the artist wasn’t on site to tell us exactly what to do.
Eventually we discerned patterns in the scaled mock-ups, and with the help of a set of highlighting markers a sense of clarity began to settle over the installation. In the photo below, each color group indicates a set of ten particular posters which repeated eleven times across the span of the wall. We figured out that if we pasted those ten posters at a time, and installed them as a “kit,” it was easier to keep track of the overall pattern.
Here is an overview of our work station in the back room of the gallery, at the center of which are the artist’s canvas works still crated from their overseas shipping. We used two Tapofix pasting machines to speed along the pasting process, visible on the two tables at the far left. (I’m the one ion the red shirt)
In order to keep all of the arrays level and plumb across the large walls, we relied on PLS-180 laser levels. Sometimes we sat them on the floor, sometimes we mounted them on height-adjustable poles, and sometimes we set them on the step of a ladder using just the right number of sandpaper sheets to shim the laser line to the needed height.
Here are a few additional photos. There are many more to be seen in the video. There’s also a link at the bottom of the video’s description which will take you to a site where you can see photos of the actual exhibit, if you wish.