Material environments

  • 4 May – 8 Jul 2018
  • Free, no booking required

During Material environments, The Tetley became a site not just for the display of artworks but of live production, experiment, making and participation.

In this exhibition, curated by Ben Roberts, five artists were invited to experiment with ideas of physical and psychological transformation.

The resulting works, which engaged with subjects ranging from social media, botany, 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 the usual experience of art which is 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.

About the artists

Phoebe Cummings makes baroque ceramic sculptures, combining impossible assemblages of plants and fauna 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.