• Andy Whysall

Packing for Free Range

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

When you’ve never packed up your work and transported it to the other end of the country before, it’s a bit daunting. And then of course it has to be carted into the exhibition space and hung, and they you have to look after the space while it’s all happening, take it down again and get it back Oop North once more.…..Yet again, I have to count my museum-worker blessings.

The key to success is getting it there in one piece. Hanging and taking down, you’ve done before. Packing is something where you tend to start from scratch. The up side is that the four images that comprise Joyce had never been abroad before are all the same size (1,000 x 800 mm) and they’re all the total thickness of the image, the substrate and the hanging batten glued to their backs…so each is about 15mm thick. That’s all. One mil for the print, two mil for the dibond (very rigid aluminium/polyurethane* layered substrate) and 12 mil for the batten. The dibond came from https://www.cutplasticsheeting.co.uk/dibond-aluminium-composite-sheet/. Quick delivery and very competitive price. Remember to buy the cheapest colour...nobody's checking the back.

The size was convenient because Kite Packaging sell two-ply corrugated sheets at 1,200 x 1000 mm, and they made a nice sandwich with acid-free tissue and bubble wrap, with the prints and had a nice bit of ‘buffer’ room round them for safety’s sake. So all good there. Two of the others, Joe Hardcastle and Mollie Baker, had large dibonded prints and they packed similarly. What they didn’t do was use a third sheet with a slot cut in it to hang the batten on so that the work couldn’t move at all in transport. So, whole sheet for the back, second sheet with appropriate slot cut glued onto that, then the work inserted, then tissue onto the print, then bubble wrap and the final sheet of card to complete the sandwich on the front. Spot on.

Transport was by hired van, the work of the Nine (sounds a bit like Ring Wraiths) Free Rangers and all the associated gubbins – a Fine Art Dept video, some MA work, bench seats, display boards, extra big prints to hang thereon – went in a hired van driven by the redoubtable Rob Sara. Everything got there intact.

Kite rang me up the other day to ask if their product had been satisfactory for my requirements. I told them there'd be another order coming sometime. Very good, quick delivery and a good price.

*Polyurethane. Some will say it's sad, but I keep finding myself drawn to writings of the French theorist Roland Barthes, who appears to have had views about everything (as we all probably should; those who know me will tell you I try very hard in that area...or maybe I'm very trying in that area). Anyway, in his collection of essays Mythologies from the late 1950s he muses on the nature of plastic as it was then and as it appeared in a big exhibition extolling the use of plastic. I'm not going to say anything deep about the environment here, just to recall that Barthes felt that the various plastics, Polystyrene, Phenoplast, Polyvinyl and Polythene were doing well for themselves even though they actually sounded like Greek shepherds. Made me laugh anyway. I had this mental image of the Spartans and their mates facing the Persians at Thermopylae being betrayed by an aggrieved Tupperware box.

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