A New Reality for Leeds: The Tetley announces its inaugural programme

By Sarah Jackson | 12 November 2013

The former Tetley Brewery headquarters will enter A New Reality at the end of November when they reopen as a centre for contemporary art and learning, The Tetley.

Exterior shot of the former Tetley Brewery, a red brick building.
The Tetley, Leeds© Stephen Iles
The inaugural programme, A New Reality, features a series of exhibitions, discussions, events and residencies, involving both audiences and artists in a new era for the site.

The Tetley retains the original period features of the brewery, built in 1931. The new contemporary art space will tackle themes of labour, the telling of overlooked or fading history and the cyclical process of change as starting points.

A cross-disciplinary mix of emerging contemporary artists have been invited to create interventions that remain sensitive to the building’s past. Visitors will be able to glimpse the future of contemporary art through the works of new artists within an environment saturated by history.

Part one of A New Reality will run from November 29 2013 until Spring 2014, and will ask artists and audiences alike to probe and imagine what the role of a dedicated home for contemporary art in Leeds could be, helping to facilitate its development.

A set of dining chairs and table lie covered in bubblewrap.
The Tetley (interior).© Stephen Iles
Following successful solo shows in London, Paris and Cologne, James Clarkson will hold his first show in Leeds from the end of November until February 16 2014. Using objects both recent and old found onsite during The Tetley’s renovation, Clarkson’s residency will explore the social and industrial history of the building, asking what happens when objects no longer function as originally intended.

A programme of public discussions and events will build on a recent project called The Good Life, by Manchester-based Emma Rushton and Derek Tyman. A variety of speakers will debate different notions of work, examining what it is and why we do it, from November 29 2013 until January 12 2014.

Following a development residency at Art Laboratory Berlin, Simon Lewandowski and Sam Belinfante are bringing The Reversing Machine to Leeds during January and February. The moving installation is a mechanical palindrome, reflecting on the way we live today and the many repetitive actions made in contemporary life.

During this residency artists from London and Leeds will add new components and reconfigure the machine. Visitors will also be encouraged to choose from a selection of vinyl records of specially commissioned compositions and play them on self-reversing turntables in a Palindrone Jukebox [sic].

Rehana Zaman will film a short serialised satirical drama, Bittermen, to be shown in July 2014. Drawing on interviews with former employees, the work will be developed through a series of open writing sessions with a television scriptwriter. The Tetley’s past as the world’s largest producer of cask ale provides a rich source of material relating to class, gender and racial politics.

A New Reality will continue throughout 2014. Parts two and three will feature artists such as Rachel Adams, Ben Cain, Rob Kennedy, Aidan Moesby, Nous Vous and Lisa Watts.

Alongside this, The Tetley will also be delivering a programme of events designed to engage with both artists and residents, including a permanent Resource Space that will create an inspiring setting for intellectual stimulation and creative play.

Local communities, artists and the general public will also be able to access the archive of the former brewery. This untapped resource will act as a stimulus for collecting oral projects and inspiring creative projects, including Legacies of War, on the 2014-18 First World War centenary commemorations.


What do you think? Leave a comment below.

A photograph of a kinetic installation.
Sam Belinfante and Simon Lewandowski, The Reversing Machine© Sam Belinfante and Simon Lewandowski
A man sits at a desk in a yellow chair looking out a window.
Rehana Zaman, ‘I,I,I,I and I’ (2013)© Rehana Zaman


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Follow Sarah Jackson on Twitter @SazzyJackson.
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