Saturday, 28 December 2013

Trip to the new Tetley art gallery in Leeds

A new contemporary art gallery opened in Leeds about 3 weeks ago so I paid it a visit while in the area. The building, the old Tetley Brewery Headquarters, is beautiful. On the ground floor there is a bar, restaurant and exhibition space. The next three floors consist of art galleries, a workshop space, offices and studios.

The Tetley's first exhibition, ‘A ‘New Reality’, invites audiences to join artists in unraveling the history and future use of the former Tetley Brewery headquarters through a series of artist projects, exhibitions, events and residencies.

Part 1 of this 9-month programme features projects and exhibitions from artists Emma Rushton & Derek Tyman, James Clarkson, Simon Lewandowksi & Sam Belinfante, and Rehana Zaman.

‘A New Reality’ launches The Tetley as a permanent contemporary art space, taking the theme of ‘labour’, the telling of overlooked or fading history, and the cyclical process of change, as starting points for the space’s transformation. An intergenerational mix of contemporary artists have been invited to create cross-disciplinary interventions that are sensitive to the site’s past.

The work in the galleries seemed to be more like a museum survey of the history of the Tetley building than art exhibitions. Unfortunately there were no artists around at the time of my visit, and , but there was evidence of activity in the form of a stage like structure constructed by Rushton & Tyman for their project titled Fear of the Surplus.

A series of public discussions and events around the topics of work, labour and welfare will take place on this stage. An impressive line-up of invited speakers – authors, activists, academics, theorists, organisers and campaigners will debate ideas of work – what it is, why and how we do it, its values and rewards and the conflicting ideas and issues which surround it. As stated on the Tetley website "With current government rhetoric surrounding work and welfare, Fear of the Surplus is timely in providing a space where conflicting ideas about labour, work systems and possible alternatives can be voiced and debated.

Fear of the Surplus refers to those groups – unemployed, the elderly, migrant workers, the recently made redundant, single mothers, under employed, public sector workers – that are either used as scapegoats by those in power, or considered extra to requirement or ‘surplus’ to requirements, or both."

I look forward to following the development of this exciting new contemporary art space.


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