Art | The Tetley – Brewery turned art gallery

Image: The Tetley

The former Tetley Brewery headquarters re-opened its doors as a new contemporary art space last November. The idea was to create a gallery that would sit somewhere between Leeds’s underground and grassroots galleries and larger institutions. The art-deco building, which operated as brewery for 189 years, is not your average white-cube gallery. Retaining many of its original features, the Tetley is now a place to get involved in creative activities, listen to talks and view contemporary art created by up and coming artists. The launch programme,  A New Reality: Part 1, has been running since The Tetley’s opening and will finish on February 28. The programme is about inviting artists and visitors to understand and address the Tetley’s heritage and consists of two exhibitions.

Smooth Flow was created by Sheffield-based artist James Clarkson, who undertook a five week open studio residency at the gallery working with and responding to some of the material left behind after the brewery was decommissioned. The show is a re-presentation and curation of photographs and objects from the building’s
recent and distant past. The objects in the show contrast sharply with one another. Early 20th century artefacts are juxtaposed with cheap, plastic office furniture. The approach is not unlike that of Duchamp, exploring what happens when an object is removed from its original context and displayed in a new one. The show is a small, subtle insight into the rise and fall of the Leeds business.

The artists behind The Reversing Machine happen to be Leeds University Fine Art lecturer and tutor Simon Lewandowski and PhD student Sam Bellinfante. The piece is a reconstruction and development of an earlier work. At the centre of the piece of installation art is a mechanical power source which permits artefacts to be revolved in one direction, to be stopped and then to be then to be revolved in the other direction. Objects include a slide projector, lights and a set of turntables playing specially composed tracks which can be interpreted backwards as well as forwards. The result is almost hypnotic. It permits us, it even compels us to reflect on the passing of time through the actions of objects that are common to our daily lives.

Claire Matthews

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