The Tetley

Concerning the Bodyguard

12 September - 2 November 2014


Benjamin Orlow, Amir Chasson, Sidsel Christensen, James Iveson, Nina Wakeford, Daniel Lichtman, Evariste Maïga, Jessica Tsang, Matthew McQuillan, Warren McLachlan, Laura Morrison, JL Murtaugh, Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh, Nathan Witt and Alison Ballance

“Can the bodyguard adduce instances of professional success? Had he a previous client? How much does pleasing matter? Is it the case that, on a certain morning, the garbage cans of the city, the garbage cans of the entire country, are overflowing with empty champagne bottles? Which bodyguard is at fault?”
* Barthelme, D. “Concerning The Bodyguard.” The New Yorker (1978): 36

This large-scale group show, co-curated by artist Laura Morrison, takes American writer Donald Barthelme’s short story of the same name as a provocative starting point to consider how current modes of expression assume the distanced observer and represent, protect and expose the vulnerable subject.

In Barthelme’s story, the narrator builds the character of a bodyguard by accumulating doubts and uncertainties with a cool, detached questioning in order to illustrate the bodyguard’s relative lack of power in relation to his employer. Through a rhetorical layering of vulnerability and security the narrator preserves the reader’s distance to the bodyguard’s personal, social and political experience.

With work in video, performance, painting, photography and sculpture, spanning topics such as the encounter with a lesbian archive, life in a contemporary military service institution and the explosion of the Minneapolis synth-funk scene, this show offers the chance to consider if and how detached narration, which limits how we speak and act, can be challenged. Works are located across the First Floor Galleries and on the Ground Floor.

The exhibition follows a research residency at The Tetley and will be accompanied by a programme of events and commissioned texts by writers including Gil Leung and Rebecca Bligh. Check back for more details on events across the exhibition and follow for live updates of new material.

Thursday 11 September 2014, 6-8pm
Join us for the launch of Concerning The Bodyguard. Free, all welcome and refreshments provided.

Thursday 2 October 2014, 6-8pm
Performance and screening event. FREE, all welcome, no need to book.

Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 October, 1-5pm
Weekend Symposium. FREE, all welcome, no need to book.

Supported by: Arts Council England and Leeds City Council

Image: Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh – new work for Concerning The Bodyguard.

Click here to find out more about the artists and their work