Pursuits of Happiness
17/07/2018 – 01/09/2018
Antonio de La Fe / Andrew Gannon / Rebecca Hobbs / Edwin Li / Anna Lucas Bruce Nauman / Matthias Sperling / Hiraki Sawa
Pursuits of Happiness brings to life creativity and imagination, opening up a playground where everyone becomes a player . Including iconic board games and games of imagination, artworks and films, the exhibition offers you the chance to explore physicality and interaction, to play with art and to let the unexpected rule.
Five artists have been commissioned to make games that invite collaborative and creative use of the gallery space. While Rebecca Hobbs explores within her practice the traces of interactions created through play, Andrew Gannon and Anna Lucas set new rules to initiate new conversations prompted by verbal instructions or visual guidance. Matthias Sperling and Antonio de la Fe bring performance into the space with their experimental approaches to dance.
The films of Edwin Li, Bruce Nauman and Hiraki Sawa shift the concept of game play onto the screen, presenting ideas of play where the rules are never made explicit.
Finally, popular board games can be played in the gallery along with action-based games illustrated on flashcards. Sounds from the films, voices and movements from the gallery, art and gameplay intertwine freely and shape the space around responding only to the wildest imagination. Now, how do you envision The Gallery?
Transformational Encounters: Touch Traction Transform
27 April to 12 May 2018
New exhibition at The Gallery, De Montfort University, offers audiences transformational encounters with films, stories, objects and interactive technologies.
Transformational Encounters: Touch, Traction, Transform (TETTT) is large scale interactive artwork which houses nine performative installations made by the artist in response to a year-long transformational dialogue with her participants. 20 people, 21 days, 22 multimedia prompts, 440 interactive responses, 12 films, 9 exhibits – what touches, troubles and transforms us?
This public exhibition engages audiences through physical and sensual interactivity. The use of performative technologies triggers films, images, sounds and interviews from within familiar objects; a bed, a wardrobe, a table, chairs. These interactive installations offer audiences spaces within which to rest and encounter the participant’s lives, whilst simultaneously reflecting on their own. The nine artworks are designed to be experienced as a whole, with each installation speaking into the artwork of another, but the journey through the landscape is the audience’s own.
Of the installations, a rowing boat reels a film backwards and forwards making and breaking an event. A wardrobe offers opportunity for disappearance and reappearance amongst crows. A four poster bed invites you to sleep, play and peep. A nest and a desk, offer exploration and rest. A silver mirror reflects back the unexpected. An abandoned table is alive with a feast of participation and conversation. A slow journey of walking and wheeling between two ‘Peters’. A magic map that speaks to you in constellations of hearts and stars.
Alice is an interdisciplinary artist-scholar based at De Montfort University (DMU), Leicester. Her Ph.D. practice-based research seeks to understand, ‘how digital technologies can be used to generate a new form of empathic relational space between people’. Alice has taught at DMU in Performing Arts, Drama and Creative Technologies and as research assistant in Health and Well Being. She holds former lecturing experience at Leicester, Warwick, St Marys and UCL universities. Alice currently manages Higher Education provision at Brooksby Melton HE College (BMC) in association with the University of East Anglia (UEA) and University of Bolton (UOB). Alice trained at Goldsmiths College and The Slade School of Fine Art and graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art in 1997, gaining a Master of Arts in Creative Technologies with Distinction from DMU in 2014. She also has a background in Broadcast Media Production and Arts Psychotherapy.
Specifically, Alice re-stages individual stories within filmic, augmented, networked and tactile environments in order to generate new qualities of reflective space that empower transformation, contemplation and connection. Within such structures, a hopeful and restorative dance is activated that forms the enabling agent to affectively transform the emotional, spiritual and creative experience of worlds.
Migration and Refugees
18 April to 21 April 2018
A showcase of research at De Montfort University
This exhibition and series of talks is inspired by the United Nations (UN) Together campaign, and brings research in migration and refugees across De Montfort University (DMU) into focus.
DMU has been asked by the UN to take the lead in engaging the higher education sector worldwide to be part of the Together campaign. The Together campaign promotes respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. Its key objective is to create a different narrative on refugees and migration, emphasising the benefits of migration and diversity, whilst acknowledging that genuine concerns exist.
DMU was invited to take this lead because of its work throughout Leicester and beyond, offering staff and students volunteering opportunities which benefit refugees, asylum seekers and migrants through its pioneering #DMUlocal and Square Mile programmes.
This January, hundreds of students from DMU visited the UN headquarters in New York to formally begin work on the Together campaign. International universities were invited to a summit held in one of the UN’s famous debating chambers, creating a global network of universities committed to finding ways to successfully integrate refugees into communities, while spreading messages of tolerance and understanding.
DMU is now working with the nine other Together university partners in the USA, Germany, Cyprus and China to share ideas and best practice, while continuing to engage new universities from around the world to be part of the campaign.
This Together research showcase highlights the breadth of research in migration and refugees at DMU, bringing it together for the first time and offering new opportunities across the university – including the creation of a new DMU research network. It is anticipated that the showcase will become an annual event, to help make this research more visible and accessible to the local community as well as to the general public.
Walker & Bromwich: An Act of Participation.
15th December to 17th March 2018
This exhibition is the first showing in a gallery setting of two major projects by the artists Walker and Bromwich. The two works, The Art Lending Library and The Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership, dating from 2012 and 2017 respectively explore themes of public and private ownership and suggest utopian social models. Both works offer up multiple forms of participation for the audience from membership of the library to performance in a satirical pageant.
Walker and Bromwich are artists based in Glasgow. They have been producing public projects looking at alternative social structures through sculpture, pageantry, and performance for the past two decades. They are perhaps best known for their work Celestial Radio, a fully functioning pirate radio station broadcasting from a mirrored yacht. Their works are visually arresting, optimistic and political and often provide a setting for events allowing discussion around issues raised through the project.
The Art Lending Library, developed by Walker and Bromwich in collaboration with Market Gallery, is a mobile structure that houses over 50 art works by a diverse range of artists working across the broad spectrum of contemporary visual arts practice. The collection contains works by international established to emerging artist from a diversity of backgrounds from Taiwan to Georgia to Leicester. Through this project the works are available for loan to visitors. To take advantage of this they have to join the library and receive their membership card, after which they are able to select work to borrow. They will then be delivered to their home by trained installation staff as part of the project and collected at the end of the loan period.
Alongside the Art lending Library is their most recent project, The Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership (2017). The project emerged from work with ex-mining communities in Ashington in Northumberland. At the heart of the artist’s presentation at The Gallery is a huge inflatable dragon with the words profit and private ownership written on it’s side and inspired by Trade Union banners of the nineteen-twenties. Alongside The Dragon is the film documenting the project and bringing to life the aspirations and achievements of the post war trade Unions within the context of today’s society. The project finale is a satirical pageant that questions dominant mythologies and defies the beast of capitalism.
Walker and Bromwich have shown in Tate Britain, London, The Whitechapel Gallery, London, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, BALTIC, Gateshead; ACCA Melbourne; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Kunstlerhaus, Vienna; Zeppelin Museum, Germany; Edinburgh and The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.
Jamie Shovlin: Subs
15th September to 25th November 2017
The Gallery is proud to present Subs (2017), a new film commission from Jamie Shovlin.
Subs follows a season in the life of youth Sunday League football club, Anstey Swifts. Titled in relation to the subscription fee paid by each child to play, Subs fuses elements of the essay film, social history and self-portrait to create a multi-dimensional account of the Swifts’ expanded landscape. The film will be displayed at The Gallery in a specially designed widescreen installation.
The film installation forms the centrepiece of the exhibition at The Gallery and is flanked by two trophies from Shovlin’s archives, presented here as sanctified historical objects. They are infused with value through their place within familial and community histories. Their personal significance far outweighs their aesthetic presence and they act as a physical counterpart to the themes within the film.
Made in collaboration with De Montfort University’s International Centre for Sports History and Culture, Subs relates the social value and historical precedents of community activity in the construction of individual, local and national identities. Against the backdrop of the nationwide political upheaval of 2016, the film questions ideas of community through the relationships between parents and players, aspirations and reality and past and present within the club. Subs outlines the psychological and emotional engagement from the Swifts’ players and parents and considers their – and Shovlin’s own – relationship to self, place and history.
Subs has been supported by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts and The Leverhulme Trust.
Julie Cope’s Grand Tour: The Story of a Life by Grayson Perry
29 July to 2 September 2017
Grayson Perry’s iconic Essex House tapestries are being shown in Leicester this summer as part of The Gallery at De Montfort University’s program. The exhibition opens Saturday 29th July and will run until Saturday the 2nd of September.
Julie Cope is a fictional character created by Grayson Perry – an Essex everywoman whose story he has told through the two tapestries and extended ballad presented in the exhibition. The Essex House Tapestries: The Life of Julie Cope (2015) illustrate the key events in the heroine’s journey from her birth during the Canvey Island floods of 1953 to her untimely death in a tragic accident on a Colchester street. Rich in cultural and architectural details, the tapestries contain a social history of Essex and modern Britain that everyone can relate to.
The tapestries are shown alongside a graphic installation, and specially commissioned audio recording of The Ballad of Julie Cope, a 3000 word narrative written and read by Perry himself that illuminates Julie’s hopes and fears as she journeys through life.
These artworks represent, in Perry’s words, ‘the trials, tribulations, celebrations and mistakes of an average life’. Historically, large-scale tapestry provided insulation for grand domestic interiors; Perry has juxtaposed its associations of status, wealth and heritage with the current concerns of class, social aspiration and taste. To write Julie’s biography, he looked to the English ballad and folktale tradition, narrating a life that conveys the beauty, vibrancy and contradictions of the ordinary individual.
Grayson Perry Portrait © Katie Hyams and Living Architecture
Inside Out: An exhibition of furniture from the Crafts Council Collection
29 July to 2 September 2017
Inside Out features 24 pieces from the Crafts Council’s Collection representing significant makers from four decades of the Collection. The earliest piece is Chair by Alan Peters OBE made in 1978 and the most recent Sarah Kay’s Helga chair from 2007 with work by Richard La-Trobe Bateman, Floris van den Broeke, Tom Dixon, Tomoko Azumi and Wales & Wales representing furniture through the 80s, 90s and the 2000s.
Furniture making traditionally considered function and ergonomics yet some of these pieces ignore such considerations including Fred Baier’s extraordinary display unit Megatron – Whatnot – Etagère (1985) made using then pioneering free-form bending and Michael Anastassiades’ playful Bedside Table (1996) made of industrial felt and able to muffle an alarm clock if more sleep is required.
The pieces cover a range of materials including recycled plastic bottles, corrugated cardboard, acrylic, ash, glass fibre, oak and metal with an equally diverse number of processes on display.
Experiments in Time and Space
Sumiko Eadon, Andrew Gannon, Daniel Sean Kelly, Anna Lucas, Theo Miller
This exhibition brings together a selection of paintings, prints, films, sculptures and performances from the past five years, including several new works on public display for the first time. Made from diverse materials, all of the artworks are experimental and explore themes of time and space.
Art School takes as its starting point DMU lecturer Anna Lucas’s film of the same name . It portrays the former building of De Montfort University’s Fine Art department before it moved to its current premises.
The exhibition includes work by graduates and staff at De Montfort University.
An exhibition and activities for children and families as part of the Spark Festival
Midday to 4pm, 27, 28 and 29 May
- 3 days of playful mayhem. Break the rules. Make the rules. Make friends. Play, rest up. Play again. New rules. New game. Drop in for 3 minutes or return for all three days.
Check out de Montfort University’s new contemporary gallery and get involved in the array of fun and exciting activities that are on offer over the weekend.
A part of The Spark Festival.
Recommended age for participants: 4+ and families
Constructs, Colour, Code
Ernest Edmonds 1967 – 2017
25 March to 6 May 2017
Ernest Edmonds is a pivotal figure in the development of digital arts practices and his inspiration can be seen globally both through his teaching and his artwork. He is a Professor at De Montfort University where he leads the Institute of Creative Technologies as Director.
He is based between England and Australia where he runs a practice-based art and technology research group, The Creativity and Cognition Studios. Having studied Mathematics and Philosophy he completed a Ph.D. in Logic.
In the late 1960s, influenced by American Minimalism and Systems Art in the United Kingdom he began to create work where the development was rule governed. Edmonds was one a group of artists that realised there was a strong link between Systems Art and the ways in which computers worked, and he began use computers in his practice.
The pieces in this exhibition span forty years of Ernest Edmonds’ work as an artist. The earliest works are concrete poetry, from 1967 to more recent works made this year.
Edmonds’ work is one of the great celebrations of the relationship between mathematics and visual art. This exhibition gives an overview of the work of one of the leading pioneers and innovators in the field and his influence continues to grow around the globe.
The Sound of Laughter Isn’t Necessarily Funny
27 January to 11 March 2017
Jonathan Monk is one of the world’s leading contemporary artists. He lives and works in Berlin and his work is held in private and public collections across the globe.
In this exhibition, three sculptures inhabit the space – a grand piano, a pair of grandfather clocks and a dismembered doll that has passed through the artist’s family. Each of these is mechanically animated and their actions mark the passing of time in seemingly arbitrary ways. All the objects have a gothic resonance to them. Their animation suggests human presence, as the piano plays itself and the dolls eyes flicker open.
This is Jonathan Monk’s first exhibition in Leicester, the city in which he was brought up. Previous solo exhibitions include Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma, Rome, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Palais de Tokyo and Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris, and Institute of Contemporary Art, London.
Photography by Steven Lynch
Photography Stuart Whips
Simon and Tom Bloor
Monday 12 September to Sunday 27 November 2016
The Bloor twins have worked collaboratively since graduating from university. They are at the forefront of a group of artists reinvigorating our ideas about public art in the UK. They work at the intersection of design, fine art, architecture and city planning and have been influential to a new generation of artists working in the public realm. Their work often subverts the original intent of design so it can be used for play.
The artists are the first to show in this space and they take the construction process as their starting point for the exhibition. Using materials redolent of the building site they create a series of sculptures that playfully populate the space. This gallery installation is a major collection of new work from the artists that gently references histories of modernist art and design and the contemporary built environment.
Their work has been shown widely across the UK and internationally in Rotterdam, GuangZhou and Denver, with recent shows in Whitechapel Gallery, Modern Art Oxford and Transmission Gallery, Glasgow.
Photography by Stuart Whips