Bourgeoisie from Night Flowers, 2014
© Damien Frost. A loan on display in London Nights.
But I also wanted to engage with the wider fields of contemporary and historic photography outside of the museum. After extensive research, I requested further striking images as loans. It helped that for the last three years I've been working on another project, to expand our collections of experimental photography, also on show this spring in our free display Beyond Documentary. This helped bring certain night photographs to my attention, including works by Brian Griffin, Mitra Tabrizian and Alexis Hunter.
From this rich selection of images I began to put together London Nights. The exhibition is divided into three sections, which I've titled London Illuminated, Dark Matters and Switch On Switch Off. Each explores a different aspect of the city at night: this is not an historic or chronological overview of the night. Rather it is a visually rich pathway into this boundless subject.
I started by building an object list, central to the development of any exhibition. The designers rely upon this list to create the physical space and eventually the hang, when the objects themselves are displayed. So, the content is finalised quite early in the process.
We spend months compiling important details such as measurements of works, mounts, frames, caption heights and so on: the designers need to plan each elevation with meticulous detail. This can be challenging when handling so many works from outside of the museum, which only arrive just before installation. It's intense but thrilling work to see a simple spreadsheet transform into a physical display.