The Tetley


4 MAY – 8 JULY 2018

Curated by Ben Roberts

During Material Environments, The Tetley became a site not just for the display of artwork but of live production, experiment, making and participation. Five artists were invited to work across the gallery’s spaces, to experiment with ideas of physical and psychological transformation. The resulting works, engaged with subjects ranging from social media, botany and chemical science to architecture and music, grew and evolved over the course of the exhibition; operating as installations, workshops or laboratories. Taking as its starting point an interest in the process of artistic research and production, Material Environments made this process visible for the audience to see, experience and be involved in.

The exhibition departed from an experience of art based on the environments in which we usually find it – paintings in a gallery and performance in a theatre – towards an understanding of art as something which actively defines our environment.

The Artists

Phoebe Cummings makes baroque ceramic sculptures, combining impossible assemblages of plants, fauna and with lush, imagined landscapes. A huge new, captivating environment in the Leeds Beckett Atrium housed her delicate sculptures made from unfired clay.

Keith Harrison employs complex scientific and engineering processes, testing the material properties of clay, sound and electricity. Recent projects have seen him firing clay with electrical currents and flying a car through a forest. At The Tetley, Harrison developed a new work spanning two interior spaces, which responded to the industrial heritage of the building, once the headquarters of Tetley’s brewery.

Serena Korda continued her research into the relationship between acoustics, emotional states, the paranormal and the extraterrestrial through a new series of soundworks recorded in Todmorden, a town with a rich history of unexplained events. She also created a ‘glass harp’, an instrument once associated with causing madness and hysteria for its players and listeners, which formed the centerpiece of a new performance work.

Harold Offeh created a live archive entitled The Real Thing: Towards an Authentic Live Archive. Concerned with ideas of reality, realness and authenticity, concepts which have taken on new meanings in our increasingly mediated lives, Offeh’s evolving installation brought together artefacts, images, actions, performances and workshops.

Joanna Piotrowska’s photographic series Shelter saw her visiting people’s homes and inviting them to create constructions, dens and habitations from the furniture within their living spaces. The resulting constructions reflect their creator’s inner life, history and state of mind, transforming space and material into something deeply personal.

“Watch art take shape, right before your eyes”. Hannah Clugston, The Guardian. Read the full article here.

Material Environments is not your usual gallery exhibition.” Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor Creative Tourist. Read the full article here.