Thursday, 10 December 2009

Adrian Lee "Don't let them leave"

Adrian Lee "Don't let them leave" performance for The Endless Descent, 3/12/2009

Invigilators and attendants have always been present in large, permanent galleries but security guards in small art exhibitions are becoming more common. They could suggest that the work (or equipment) on show has a high financial value, that it is a stipulation of the exhibition insurer or the collector(s) that lent the work, that the work on show could be easily damaged by the viewers or that the viewers could be damaged by the work on display. They fall in the category of ‘overlookable’ and ‘to be ignored’, like plug sockets, fire extinguishers and picture hooks. Unlike the gallery staff, it is understood that the security personnel are not working in an intellectual capacity, they have no special interest in the work on show, they are purely a physical presence.

Our interest is piqued though when they become animated, running in the street, calling for back-up and we rubber-neck, looking for action. We catch intriguing snippets of radio-speak and catch a glimpse through the doors to the back-stage areas where these modern wizards of Oz live with their banks of cctv monitors.