A golden clad dummy wearing a golden sun mask

Exhibition Archive

We’ve got over twenty years experience as a curated gallery, originally with our Balcony gallery but since 2015 have had our larger galleries one, two, and three.

We’ve had some of exciting and daring work during that time, and our old exhibitions are archived here.

Plastic cowboys and native Americans fighting

Tim Neath - Cowboys Invaded

Friday 22 January – Sunday 28 February
Online
A twist on the comic book ‘Cowboys & Aliens’, ‘Cowboys Invaded’ (2020) explores an alien occupation of the American West in a 50-minute mixed media stop motion.

Tim Neath has carefully crafted a sprawling model world using recycled cardboard and craft materials. The scenes are populated with dated vintage action figurines, set for an epic encounter on a miniature scale. Immersing the viewer in the imagery of Hollywood film, the piece unpicks the politics of the science fiction and Western genres, in particular the idea of Manifest Destiny: the belief that colonial expansion by American settlers was the will of God.

Tim Neath is an artist based at 2 Queens in Leicester and was commissioned by Attenborough Arts Centre to support him in the completion of this long-term project.

a large, iron meteorite

Graham Ensor - Meteorite Display

Monday 28 September – Friday 11 December
Gallery 3
In connection with our main exhibition ‘Mariner 9’, local meteorite collector Graham Ensor has curated a display of meteorites and related artefacts in Gallery 3.

In connection with our main exhibition ‘Mariner 9’, local meteorite collector Graham Ensor has curated a display of meteorites and related artefacts in Gallery 3. With specimens from Mars and the moon, as well as local samples from the famous fall near Barwell village, these meteorites have stories to tell about the origins of the universe, and their disruptive descents to earth.

When a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite exploded over the Leicestershire village of Barwell on Christmas eve in 1965, nine-year-old Graham gained a life-long passion for the subject. He now owns about 1,000 specimens, which experts believe could be the largest private collection in the UK. Many of the meteorites in Graham’s collection are of great scientific value and he regularly works with the Open University to make material available for research. He has generously loaned a selection for display in the Attenborough Art Centre.

In order to prioritise the health and safety of our visitors and staff, this exhibition is open by appointment only. To enquire about booking a visit please contact us at: arts-centre@le.ac.uk

a silhouette sat in front of a martian landscape

Kelly Richardson: Mariner 9

Monday 6 March – Friday 6 November
Gallery 1
Mariner 9 (2012) presents a video of panoramic view of the Mars landscape hundreds of years in the future, littered with the rusting remains of various missions to the planet.

Created with software used by the film and gaming industries, and using data from NASA’s missions to Mars, Richardson has created a realistic representation of the Mars landscape covered by the debris of centuries of exploration. Despite the apparent abandoned state of the planet, some of the spacecraft continue to work, looking for signs of life.

Kelly Richardson (b. 1972, Canada) is one of the leading members of a new generation of artists using digital technologies to create hyper-real, highly charged landscapes. Recent solo exhibitions include Dundee Contemporary Arts, CAG Vancouver, VOID Derry and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. Her video installations have been included in presentations at the Toronto Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival.

riot police keeping people away from a burning wheelchair

Justin Edgar: Reasonable Adjustment

Balcony Gallery
This exhibition highlights the work of one particular activist group: Reasonable Adjustment, whose national campaign against the unfair treatment of disabled people gained prominence in the late eighties and early nineties with a series of attacks and public protests.

The group Reasonable Adjustment, or RAD, were formed in 1989 in protest at the treatment of disabled people, and were active during the late eighties and early nineties. What made RAD unique was the advocacy of armed resistance in the face of what they saw as unfair treatment of disabled people by the right-wing conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.

Between 1989 and 1994 they carried out a series of attacks including a shooting at the BBC and the bombing of Euston Station. Reasonable Adjustment modelled themselves on other historical armed resistance movements and are comparable to direct action groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, however, no one was seriously injured or killed in their campaign of violence.

At the time of Reasonable Adjustment, Justin Edgar was a student at Portsmouth Art College. He first noticed graffiti depicting RAD’s distinctive logo when taking photographs for an assignment on the city environment. He began to document the movement and this exhibition presents items from his personal collection of the last thirty years as well as borrowed items.

a painted vase in a case

In My Shoes

30 March 2018 – 22 September 2019

Self-portraiture has been an enduring presence throughout art history; in recent years artists have revolutionised and extended the genre by incorporating action, performance, narrative and explorations of identity. 

In My Shoes’ explores the ways in which artists based in the UK have represented themselves in their work since the 1990s. Encompassing a range of media including film, photography and sculpture, ‘In My Shoes’ draws primarily from the Arts Council Collection, with key loans from other UK collections, to investigate these dynamic approaches. 

 

This exhibition offers a timely opportunity to consider the legacy of a key aspect of 1990s British art. The show begins with key early works by so-called ‘Young British Artists’ including Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Gavin Turk, who received international attention for putting themselves in the frame with bold and confrontational works. The exhibition continues with the work of a younger generation of artists including Rachel Maclean and Bedwyr Williams who have each established an active role within their work. ‘In My Shoes’ concludes with some of the most recent works to enter the Arts Council Collection, some on public display for the first time since acquisition. 

a gallery with photos adorning the walls

Aaron Williamson

Saturday 11 May – Sunday 14 July 2019
Over the last twenty-five years, renowned British artist Aaron Williamson has created over three hundred performances, videos, installations and publications in Britain, Europe, Japan, China, Australia, America, South America, Canada, and man other countries around the world. Williamson’s eclectic practice spans performance, objects, place and space, informed by his experience of becoming deaf and by a politicised, yet humorous sensibility towards disability.

This was Williamson’s largest solo project to date, featuring a brand new project ‘inspiration archives’, which had been commissioned by Attenborough Arts. Inspiration Archives brought together never before seen objects, artefacts, ephemera, film footage and photography, which document the lives of several historically overlooked personalities. Characters included; Deaf wrestler Cain in Chains; Charlotte Waterton, granddaughter of zoological illustrator William Waterton, and paraplegic traveller and explorer ‘Parachute Susan’ O’Sullivan, alongside various other inspirational historic figures of differing professions and backgrounds.

Accompanying the Inspirational Archive installation, Attenborough Arts Centre and Aaron Williamson also curate a retrospective of pas solo and collaborative projects including film, performance, objects, text and photography.

painting of a woodland

Sargy Mann: Let it be felt that the painter was there

9 November 2019 – Sunday 23 February 2020
Sargy Mann (29 May 1937 – 5 April 2015) was a British landscape and figurative painter. He was acclaimed as a colourist and his diverse works are recognisable by their rich colour palette, distinct composition and a desire to capture a sense of light and space.

Mann’s distinctive vision was deeply influenced by Bonnard and Cezanne but his paintings remain remarkably original.  Affected by failing vision from the age of 36, Mann was compelled to find new ways of seeing and working – this creative liberation produced a celebrated body of work that continued after his total loss of sight in 2005. This exhibition, which has been developed in close collaboration with the artist’s family, is the largest public showing of Mann’s work to date and draws from all periods of his career.  It includes an extensive collection of paintings and drawings, alongside never previously exhibited archival material, photographs and audio recordings that reveal fascinating insights into Mann’s practise.

The exhibition is centred around four groups of Mann’s work made over three decades – the Late Lyndhurst Grove Paintings, a series of works begun in 1988, depicting the interior of Mann’s home in Peckham and locations nearby;  Mann’s house and garden at Bungay in Suffolk which he moved to in 1990; the painting ‘The Family at Breakfast, Borgo Place’ (2004) accompanied by supporting material showing Mann’s process; and a group of later works which depict  scenes of figures, often bathers by infinity swimming pools.  From the late 1980s Mann made audio recordings of his subjects and visitors to the exhibition can listen to several of these ‘audio sketchbooks’, paired with the paintings they documented.

A section of the exhibition focuses on the moment in 2005-6 when Mann lost his remaining vision. It shows three paintings including ‘Frances in the Pink Chair, Yellow Background’ which started Mann on a new way of painting.  The works are shown alongside a film made by Mann’s son Peter during this time.  Also on show are smaller works, drawings and sketchbooks which explore Mann’s need to understand the world through the act of painting and drawing.  Material relating to his time as a teacher and his research into other artists is also on display.  Mann devoted considerable time to the study of other painters, most notably Pierre Bonnard whose quote ”Let it be felt that the painter was there; consciously looking at the objects in their light already conceived from the beginning” is the inspiration for the title of the exhibition.

Doctor Strange final copy

Mel Brimfield: Talking Heads

Saturday 19 January – Sunday 17 April
Talking Heads is an exhibition of new work by the artist Mel Brimfield. It includes ranging from audio installations, to multiple films and large scale comic-like drawings reflecting a lively collaborative practice encompassing theatre, visual art and performance.

Talking Heads is rooted in a long period of research at the Department of Psychosis Studies at the Kings College Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, and the National Psychosis Unit at Bethlem Hospital, London. It explores the experiences of a national community of people living with and recovering from psychosis, and of the carers, nurses, neuroscientists, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers and academics who work to understand and provide support.

Talking Heads is organised around a series of new works, highlights include:

 

UNGEZIEFER

 

The darkly comedic Ungeziefer focuses on a hapless voiceover artist in a recording studio attempting to make an abridged audiobook of Franz Kafka’s ’Metamorphosis’, directed by a bored producer.  The narrative of Gregor Samsa’s nightmarish transformation into a giant cockroach, and the inability of his horrified family to deal with it, is taken as a loose metaphor for the onset of schizophrenia and its frequently alienating effects. The actor performs and re-performs truncated fragments of Kafka’s text, following directions from the sound booth. To his confusion, intermittent auxiliary voices begin to appear, critiquing his performance, apparently unheard by the producer.  The catcalls and insults build to a yammering chorus of disapproval voiced by a cast of gibbering, shrieking voices competing for airtime.

 

XENOBATH

Xenobath is a collaborative work made with video artist Milo Creese, comprising collaged sampling of found audio and footage, CGI animation, filmed interview and performed action exploring accounts of the altered states of perception frequently associated with psychosis. A recurrent monologue at the centre of the piece takes the form of a collective hallucination articulated by an oscillating swarm of voices, all performed by actor David Cann. During her residency at Kings College Department of Psychosis Studies, Brimfield has had conversations with dozens of voice hearers and perceivers of phenomena unseen by the general population to gather ‘remembrances’ of unusual experience.

A female artist kneeling in front of a portrait

Lucy Jones: Awkward Beauty

Saturday 27 July – Sunday 6 October
Lucy Jones is renowned for both her imposing, challenging self-portraits and for expressionistic landscapes.

Her landscape paintings evolve from hard earned studies made while in the landscape, placing a board on the ground to make either a drawing or watercolour.

In contract, her self-portrait works are critical examinations, and reaffirmations of self. Encompassing strength, humanity and wit, they are statements as much about the human conditions as her own.

Jones studied at Camberwell School of Art, followed by the Royal College of Art, where she won a Rome scholarship in 1982.

2. Adam portrait c. 1983

In Out There: Adam Reynolds, Sarah Carpenter, Nicola Lane, Terrence Birch, and Catherine Cleary

Saturday 14 April  – Sunday 17 June 2018
In Out There explores the enduring influence of renowned disabled artist and activist Adam Reynolds. The exhibition features newly commissioed work by Terrence Birch, Sarah Carpenter, Nicola Lane and Catherine Cleary, who were all shortlisted for the 2018 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary; a flagship art award set up in memory of the life and work of Adam Reynolds.

The exhibition places this new work alongside seldom-seen examples of Adam Reynolds’ own practice, archival material, and interviews. The exhibition sees The Adam Gallery, the pioneering artist-run, labyrinthine, housed in an ex-cobbler’s shop in south London, is re-imagined within the walls of Attenborough Arts Centre – re-affrming AAC’s and Shape’s commiment to supporting disabled artists.

Alongside Adam Reynolds, IN OUT THERE artists include Sarah Carpenter, who has a background in dance choreography and theatre directing. Carpenter’s inspiration comes from her experience of mental illness, likening her artistic process to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Nicola Lane explores themes of fragmentation and absence, informed by her peripatetic childhood and experience of disability. She has worked as an artist since graduating in 1972, her practice evolving from painting into sculpture, installation and filmmaking. Catherine Clearys’ paintings are populated by a diverse range of references to film, myths and stories, animation, folk memory and historical artefacts and are loosely in conversation with the history of English Neo-Romantic painting.

Adam Reynolds

Adam Reynolds (1959 – 2005) was a pioneering curator, activist, gallery owner, mentor and advocate, but first and foremost, a successful and influential artist. Reynolds worked with many different materials including lead, copper, steel and glass and moved from predominantly figurative pieces in the 1980s towards more abstract, geometric and larger work.

Reynolds, a disabled person, drew on his lived experience of muscular dystrophy throughout his career, influencing both his art and his politics. Adam used this knowledge, and commitment to increasing access to the arts for disabled people buy serving on the Board of Shape as Chair (1990-97). He also served on the Arts Council’s art panel (1989-94) and as a Trustee of Chisenhale Gallery (1991-2000). Reynolds involvement with these major organisations ran parallel with a key period disability rights movement, which saw the passing of key legislation such as the disability discrimination act (1997).

A man's eyes peep through a full flower bouquet

Amartey Golding

Friday 13 April  – Sunday 17 June 2018
Amartey Golding is a multimedia artist whose work addresses subjects of cultural identity and intolerance.

During his childhood, Golding’s family moved house regularly, not only to various contrasting communities in London, but also overseas to Ghana in West Africa. These experiences of continuous fluidity and movement have undoubtedly influenced Golding’s artwork. Golding premiered two new films alongside his 2016 film Chainmail which forms a loose portrait of his younger brother, Solomon, the first black British male dancer of The Royal Ballet.

art piece of a bbq covered in shells in front of a series of cirlces

Criminal Ornamentation, by Yinka Shonibare

22 September – 21 December 2018
Criminal Ornamentation is about the political, cultural and social dimensions of the use of pattern in art and craft.

The exhibition is not about the hierarchy of taste as it manifests between high and low culture, but rather about the cultural and political manifestation of pattern within craft, sculpture, painting, costume design, film and photography. Criminal ornamentation celebrates the impolite and apologetic display of patter, repetition and colour as freedom from the elitism of good taste, rejoicing the radical deviancy of pattern.

An abandoned, simple trainstation at dusk

Altered Landscapes, by Juan delGado

Saturday 6 January – Sunday 25 February 2018
Altered Landscape asked you to navigate, reflect and absorb the experiences and stories of refugees.

For this exhbition, delGado travelled to Greece, North Macedonia and Calais to film, photograph, and record the journeys taken by Syrian refugees. delGado has not filmed these ‘invisible’ people who proliferate our media, but the places they have passed through. There are traces of their existence, fragmented experiences, fleeting moments and marks left on the land as they pass through to find safety.

Using video, photography, lighting and sound, Altered Landscapes encourages you to open up contemplation and discussion about the current situation in Europe, a place that has become filled with militarised border control.

Art made of bacteria of multiple colours

Steffie Richards: Ebb and Flow

Friday 12 January – Saturday 25 March 2018
Imagine if our presence left behind a visible trace when passing through a space. What would that space then look like?

Steffie Ricahrds’ work aims to visualise this and relates to the transient values of coastal Cornwall. She explores the constant yet subtle changes to the environment, both brought and erased by the tides, and asked us to think about out relationship with the magnitude of the ocean itself.

Art made of bacteria of multiple colours

Laura Swanson

September – December 2017
the first UK solo exhibition by American artist Laura Swanson. It will feature new artwork commissioned especially for this exhibition, including new installation and sculpture, alongside recent work from Swanson’s mixed-media series “Uniforms” (2014-2015), and photographic works from various past projects.

Laura Swanson examines the behaviour of looking at physical difference, working across media including drawing, installation, photography, and sculpture. Pulling from multiple sources – art history, commercial display, critical theory, personal experience, photography, popular culture, sociology – her visual language is simultaneously playful and serious, simple and intricate, inviting and disruptive.

The exhibition will take autumn 2017 in AAC’s new gallery, a space dedicated to international contemporary art. AAC is one of the largest public galleries in the midlands, producing high quality exhibitions and commissioning exciting new work. AAC is committed to supporting innovative, critically challenging, and socially engaged artists.

A photo of a woman's torso, wearing a floral jumpsuit

Plant Culture

Saturday 22 July – Saturday 25 September 2016
Bringing together different artistic representations of plant life in modern and contemporary art, Plant Culture explores how artists have used plants as a subject matter, material or aesthetic. The exhibition constituted an investigation into the relationship between humans and plants.

Through its examination of plant orientated artwork, Plant Culture will question the privileging of human experience (that of the artist) over the existence of a nonhuman subject. The exhibition looks at plant-human dynamics in a variety of different ways, for example the still life, where seemingly inanimate objects are impregnated with human symbolism.

The exhibitions design and layout will draw comparisons between botanic gardens, (collections of plants brought together for study and pleasure) and collections of contemporary art. The work will be organised around four perspectives: Allegory, Reality, Investigation and otherness.

The exhibition will be curated by, Attenborough Arts Centre. To accompany the exhibition, University of Leicester’s Department of Biology support talks and tours of the exhibition, and University’s Botanical Gardens, two organisations will also co-produce a series of creative learning classes and workshops.

Artists

Gilbert & George, Marc Quinn, Anya Gallaccio, Andy Goldsworthy, Janice Kerbel, Georgie Hopton, Simon Starling, Michael Landy, Hayley Newman, John Newling, Lois Weinberg and John Stezaker, Annie

a window, open, with a flower close up behind

Lucy and Jorge Ortega

Saturday 30 January – Sunday 24 April 2016
The internationally acclaimed Lucy + Jorge Orta produce artwork that questions the social and ecological sustainability of our planet. Over the last two decades they have produced an abundance of works, employing diverse media, like drawing, sculpture, installation, couture, painting, silkscreen, photography, video and light. Besides this, they have also staged interventions and performances to realise major projects across the globe.

The Ortas’ practice is driven by extensive research into the forces shaping our environment: the availability of food and water, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and subsequent species loss, and global climate change.

This new solo presentation brings together artwork relating to the Ortas’ ongoing concern with human migration, escape and survival from environmental and political catastrophe. It includes many of their characteristic social sculptures, assemblages of functional objects such as customised buoyancy aids, water flasks, and individually made sleeping bags.

A small car hanging from the ceiling as a man looks on

Art, Life, Activism: Contemporary art and the politics of disability

Friday 12 September 2015
Art, Life, Activism drew on our own history as a centre for inclusive art practice, bringing a thought-provoking look at intersection between art and disability.

Drawing together works by artists’ Tony Heaton, Noemi Lakmaier, Aaron Williamson, Bobby Baker, and photographer David Hevey, the collection explored various aspects of disability politics. Using sculpture, performance, film, and drawing to address a diverse range of concerns, they explore political activism, the labour market, medical treatment, access, sexuality, and hidden history; they challenge the social, economic and cultural forces that characterise disability.