Past Exhibitions

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.


Art School:
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
Jonathan Monk
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

Photography Stuart Whips

Urban Studies
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