Turner Prize 2017

As Hull’s year as UK City of Culture comes to an end, I finally visited the Turner Prize exhibition at the Ferens Gallery. How good to see this in Hull, where the large galleries provided the space needed for all artists’ large works, whether two or three dimensional.

Each artist was given their own gallery, so there was no confusing the different prize nominees.

There were loads of visitors, even on a freezing Monday.

Andrea Buttner’s work, accompanied by the display about the life and work of Simone Weil, reminded me about The Tetley’s practice of linking contemporary artists’ work with archives or collections.


Community curation

Two recent examples of co-curating in Leeds.

  1. Space2, Just Hang in There, 20-24 Nov 2017

Community groups and artists co-curated a selection of each (the groups’ and the artists’) of their work. They described it as:

Just Hang in There is a collaboration of creative minds from professional and community artists, responding to the theme or art inside me through a genuinely co-produced creative process. All the collaborators have brought their own ideas, inspirations and skills to the project. Including Chapeltown and Seacroft men’s groups. A cornucopia of exhibits for you to explore and enjoy include photography to books, paintings to film and fabric, transforming the space in to an exciting and inspiring experience.

At Space2 we’re constantly seeking to push the boundaries of our co-creation, bringing a parity of status to participants and asking everyone to leave their labels – like artist, community member, volunteer at the door. We believe this brings a different dynamic and synergy to the process and the promise of new possibilities.

2. 105Women Open Studio 9-10 December 2017


105Women is a creative collective run by women and cultural organisers from countries all over the world and across generations. The group, which has existed for two years, offers a safe studio for art activity and socialising. They aim to feel connected and attached to Leeds and the Chapeltown community through art and craft, to learn together, recognising that each member of the collective has something valuable to contribute.

The new works include window projections, a collaborative zine and objects & gifts made with new skills learned. They are hosting this open studio weekend to welcome the public to Union105 to see the workspace and their creative practice.

The public are invited to react, respond and take part in the conversation being made by the women who are living on the margins of the city.

As well as a great range of work carefully selected at both of these exhibitions, there was a very warm welcome! The art had been created in group settings so it was good to see members of the group taking pride in their work and thinking about how to present it in an exhibition.  In the Space2 exhibition group members’ and artists’ work was shown side by side – in fact, all labels and roles were irrelevant.

105Women took the opportunity to produce a zine of artworks and poems to accompany their open weekend.



Your Consequences Have Actions

Martha Grunenwaldt


Good meeting with Bryon Bond, Artistic Director at The Tetley, getting insight into current exhibition: Your Consequences Have Actions.

This was ultimately for a piece I wrote for Disability Arts Online (2017):  http://disabilityarts.online/magazine/opinion/your-consequences-have-actions/

Discussion around interpretation and labelling, power of art.

Relates to my talk & tour and presentation in terms of issues around interpretation and biographical information.

Background of Tetley is Project Space Leeds, so focus is on supporting emerging artists.  Gravitated towards more solo presentations: limited resources; a good way to push people’s careers forward.

They have the Tetley Brewery archive, so are interested in working with archives, but thinking quite broadly re archives and collections, curatorial. Create dialogues between contemporary artists and collections, influences contemporary art.

Opportunity to support guest / emerging curators.

Sometimes this results in separate shows, sometimes interwoven. Discussion with artist about how to do it. 

Archives provide routes into contemporary arts for new audiences.

Bryon was at Whitworth when the Musgrave/Kinley collection came there. So she knows the collection and the history well.

Outsiders exhibition 1979 at Hayward. First use of term.

After Musgrave’s death, Monika Kinley established their collection as a public collection. (Kinley, 2005). Tried to get space in London, but fell through. Went to Institute of Modern Art Ireland after that for a few years, but Monika not happy with the arrangement, so tried to find a new home for the collection. Asked a number of high profile contacts to help. Nicholas Serota suggested the Whitworth, because of collections if textiles, wallpaper, works on paper. 

The vast majority (over 90%) of this collection are works on paper, although in many cases reclaimed or unusual papers.

Accessioned into the Whitworth’s collection. 

Thought long and hard about how to exhibit works, and about the relationship between the Outsider Art collection and the rest of the collections. One curator said that the outsider pieces “set bombs off” in the collection.

Bryony visited the main outsider art collections in Europe. Found, when isolated, it felt oppressive. Benefits from a conversation between different works.

Collection isn’t all disabled people, broader than that. 

Interpretation of outsider artists tends to rely on biographies, Tetley trying to avoid that. Thinking about impact of biographies on the work.  Although outsider artists do have great stories!

Art is about communication, direct communication with artist across time and space. It doesn’t ask anything of you, you can spend a long time or short time.

This exhibition: more reading is available in the exhibition guide.  Wanted to get across how celebrated and renowned some of these artists are.  Also video in the gallery that gives background.

Martha Grunenwaldt was 71 years when she started painting her lovely paintings, what hope and joy that gives us.

Art comes from everywhere and can be made from anything.

Work made in an institution – you can’t deny that this adds interest to the work.

Story, integrity, means something more.

These artists totally reveal how the art world works, while having absolutely no interest in it or need of it. They are prized by collectors and dealers:

  • Don’t talk about their work much
  • Die before they’re discovered 
  • Consistent style.

Saelia Aparicio – already influenced by Judith Scott but not familiar with other artists.

Some of Saelia’s characters are “visiting” the outsiders in the different galleries.

Connection: all female artists, their work deals with female personas, bodies, portraits, identities

The outsiders would make work even if no audience. Huge drive to make work.

Some combinations more successful than others e.g. Martha Grunenwaldt overshadows, in terms of style and numbers

A better combination is Broken Builder with Marie Rose Lortet’s piece. The builder is visiting, looking over. Delicacy of sculpture reflected in web of cracked glass of Broken Builder.

Judith Scott – one piece looks like a heart, an organ. Weighty substance of her work.

Lee Godie – not one of her photo works, but clearly influenced by photo booths.

Saelia Aparicio – from secret island in Spain

Experimental and getting more experimental:

  • Found objects
  • Anime
  • A bit gross but alluring to look at.

Stools – different physicalities of the bodies. Sit on stools and contemplate the mural.


Crawshaw, G. (2017) ‘Your Consequences Have Actions’ Disability Arts Online, 12 December. Available at: http://disabilityarts.online/magazine/opinion/your-consequences-have-actions/ (Accessed: 13 December 2017).

Kinley, M. (2005). Monika’s Story. London: Musgrave Kinley Outsider Trust

Your Consequences Have Actions (2017) [Exhibition] The Tetley, Leeds. 30 November – 28 January 2018.