The art world has been abuzz since the forthcoming David Hockney retrospective exhibition at Tate Britain was announced. With Hockney celebrating his 80th birthday this year the public will be able to enjoy six decades of his work, along with some new pieces, at Tate Britain from 9 February until 29 May 2017.
As excitement builds we have been busy working night and day to ensure that the exhibition space is perfect to showcase Hockney’s work. As Tate Britain's chosen contractor for the gallery we have been working with Tate's co-curator Chris Stephens to ensure that the space creates the ambience required to fully showcase Hockney's work.
Hockney burst onto the scene in the 1960s and is now considered the UK's greatest living artist. Influenced by Picasso, Dufy, and Matisse, Hockney was able to take the ordinary and develop it into something beautiful to look at. With his ability as a photographer, and his skills in painting, his work though not totally new, managed to bring an element of surprise.
When you come to see the exhibition this February you will be drawn to the diversity and depth of Hockney’s art. From paintings, drawings, videos, prints and photographs spanning six decades, the exhibition will illustrate David Hockney’s artistic journey culminating in his new works. The exhibition is expected to attract a large number of visitors, but interestingly those visitors probably won't give a second thought to how the artwork has been displayed. And yet creating the right setting for the artwork in line with David Hockney’s and Tate Britain’s requirements is paramount to the exhibition’s success.
Ensuring that exhibition spaces are made in line with a gallery’s requirements is one our specialisms, as is undertaking the work in a safe, timely, and environmentally-friendly manner. Despite the professionalism with which we create a space we are able to work swiftly, which means that exhibition turn-around can be accomplished quickly - an obvious advantage for a gallery.
To create the exhibition space for David Hockney's work we had to refurbish 16 galleries. This involved rebuilding most of them, and included taking down walls and removing floor coverings to recreate the space required by Tate Britain. Each gallery had to be fully redecorated. Fixtures and fittings were made by our carpenters so that Hockney's work could be displayed in line with Tate Britain's vision.
The work was finished in good time (three weeks!), and at short notice the gallery decided to change the colour of certain walls. This meant that we had to return to repaint areas that needed it. With time constraints upon us we brought a team in and worked round the clock to make the changes required so everything would look perfect for the opening of the David Hockney exhibition.
Alex Farquharson, Director, summed this exhibition at Tate Britain perfectly when he said: "David Hockney is without doubt one of Britain's greatest living artists.
"His practice is both consistent, in its pursuit of core concerns, while also wonderfully diverse. Hockney's impact on post-war art, and culture more generally, is inestimable, and this is a fantastic opportunity to see the full trajectory of his career to date."
We are proud to have been part of the journey of this retrospective exhibition and look forward to knowing that we have played a role in enabling visitors to enjoy Hockney's work at its very best.