GLP has been chosen as the exclusive automated lighting partner for The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism at London’s Saatchi Gallery. The exhibition will run until 4 September in London before touring another 11 global cities over the next four years.
One of the most anticipated rock ‘n’ roll exhibitions, Exhibitionism uses technology on a large scale to create the realism of the band’s early history, and enhance the visitor experience through seven separate zones.
Produced and curated by Australian event company IEC (International Entertainment Consulting), the lighting design has been created by another major event company, Woodroffe Bassett Design (WBD) with a number of LED fixtures from GLP utilised.
The inventory was supplied and installed through partners White Light, under the project management of Simon Needle. This included 25 GLP impression X4, each featuring 19 high output RGBW LEDs, along with six of the new X4 Bar 20 high performance battens. All appear in the ‘Performance’ gallery where visitors are ‘transported’ from a backstage area onto stage (as if a member of the band) before being ‘returned’ to the audience. In addition, GLP in North America also supplied nine Fusion LED RGB fixed beam battens from Scenex Lighting, for whom they are distributors, and these are located in the ‘Style’ section of the show.
The Rolling Stones’ first international exhibition occupies the entire two floors, combining over 500 original Stones’ artefacts, with striking cinematic and interactive technologies offering a comprehensive and immersive insight into the band’s history. This includes unseen dressing room and backstage paraphernalia, rare instruments, original stage designs, iconic costumes, rare audio tracks, video footage and much more — including a wraparound cinematic experience that celebrates every aspect of their careers.
As the band’s long-term lighting designer and show director, Patrick Woodroffe says that the idea of a full-blown exhibition had been discussed regularly over the past 20 years. “It has gone through many iterations but this particular concept was the first that seemed to have the necessary weight and commitment, and we started work on it two years ago. WBD were asked by the producers to light the show at the same time that I was helping to curate the content.”
When conceiving the show dynamics, WBD’s thinking was shaped by the fact that the attraction would be mounted on a giant scale and have to tour for long periods. “In the end we chose to buy a lot of the equipment rather than rent locally, as much of the installation is custom,” continued Woodroffe. “This also enabled us to specify exactly the fixtures that we required. “We wanted to have a dynamic lighting element in the final ‘Performance’ gallery and so started to look at the idea of a small LED moving light.”
White Light’s Simon Needle explained: “We were working with GLP products for the first time and found them ideal for the exhibition as they are the only ones we know of that can cope with changing voltages.
“As an art gallery, with an extremely low roof, the space was quite difficult to work in. There were also logistic issues with kit delivery which necessitated working closely with Saatchi to ensure that we weren’t disturbing their neighbours. There is also extremely limited power, which can be a problem with an exhibition like this, so to overcome this, we used as much LED lighting as possible.”
Each gallery has its own lighting control DMX playback unit. Most galleries have a very simple set of cues, the exceptions being the screening room in the Film gallery and Performance. Here the environment reacts to contact closures provided by Electrosonic that allow the lighting to respond to the start and end of the film.
Summing up, Patrick Woodroffe praised Ki McGinity and the team from IEC Exhibitions “who made the whole thing happen.” He said, “This was a hugely challenging but ultimately rewarding project for everyone involved; a strong creative team with the support of a generous and imaginative producer and the input from the Rolling Stones themselves at every step resulted in a technically superb but also emotionally connected experience for everyone who will see it.”
Pictures credit: Exhibitionism