Putting up the exhibit 3rd October 20182nd October 2018 by Natasha Pyne Everything ready to go – the drawings, a wooden chopping board (incase I need to cut anything out of the vinyl), various cutting implements and a bag full of black Sharpies On Mondays the museum is closed for installations and cleaning so no-one was there which was such a relief as I was nervous and anxious and could do without an audience watching me putting up vinyl. The first job though was to clean the windows and doors and ask for a table so I could lay out the vinyl properly. Having never used vinyl before I thought I would go with the easiest panel to put up first. Having looked at the windows and doors in situ I decided to change the order of the panels round so this panel was now the far left panel as it would attract visitors coming up the staircase. The only problem was trying to hang a panel on walls that aren’t straight. A lot of repositioning later and a little bit of repair work with a Sharpie and a Stanley knife and the first panel was up. Only when I began to position the first panel did I realise that it was too high up – so much so that you couldn’t read the top writing without standing back and colliding with the doors opposite. After some thought I decided to move the whole panel down by about a meter. Autumnal colours for the leaves – which, when you realise that Sharpie only do one shade of brown, was quite an achievement. The third panel wasn’t as easy as the first to put up and soon became full of air holes. Fortunately the heavy patterning hid most of the bubbles and rather than focus on getting rid of the air bubbles (very time consuming) I decided to carry on. Making sure the flow of lines, movement and narrative is imperative in my work and this meant lining up panel 3 and 4 very carefully. I am not a tape measure kind of person so I did it all by guess work and by eye and it worked out okay. The door seals worked well with the patterning and became part of the picture rather than framing or confining the figures. The doors were unlocked so I had a safe space to go in to when it all got too much. It was silent in there and as I calmed down I realised that you could still see the pieces from behind the door! So often an outsider, it was nice to know that in this, I had a choice over where I could stand and if I wanted too, I could fluctuate between the two. As soon as I looked at the door I realised that the top landscape was too long and overhung the door! Fortunately it was the landscape and not the faces of the women. So with the aid of my improvised cutting board and a sharp knife I scored off the excess. I didn’t think about it too much or I would have started to panic and get lost in detail. At this point I realised that when I was drawing this panel at home the two figures seemed to be overly large, and yet here they were, fitting in with the scale of the doors and the surrounding environment. A lot of cut out sections and fiddly bits (such as the fingers) on this particular panel meant this was a tricky to put up and it really didn’t like a lot of repositioning and then the first of what was going to be many tears occurred. In my experience most things can be redeemed and panicking wasn’t going to help so I focused on getting the rest of the panel fixed to the door. Not wishing the permanent ink to stain the door glass I carefully touched up the lines that had become smudged through the heat off my hands as I handled the vinyl. Close up of panel 3 Panel 2 has a running figure in it. Her back is percolated with sharp lines all of which had to be individually cut around. It was at this point that I realised that vinyl can tear – rather a lot as it happens! As if she had not suffered enough, air bubbles began to appear everywhere. Do you ever get that feeling in your tummy when this is no longer fun and it vexes you? When this happens I take time out and walk away. I think about something completely different, I sing a song, recite poetry, look at nature and count my breathing. It worked. When I returned to the panel the air bubbles that couldn’t be coaxed out to the edges were carefully popped with a sharp blade and then the repair work began. An example of those who down-press go on to down-press others and so it carries on … And so panel 2, the last panel, goes into place. The nature of this piece means that when it comes down it will tear and be destroyed. So come along and see it. Take your time. Allow yourself to connect with and uncover the multiple narratives. See not just yourself but others as well. Recognise the rage, the pain, the confusion, the isolation, the hope and the fragile but broken existence that is humanity. Most of all, breathe and allow the pictures to speak and then listen. There is an email address for feedback and commissions.