12 September - 2 November 2014
PV 11 September 2014, 6-8pm
Co-curated by Laura Morrison

Artists include: Benjamin Orlow, Amir Chasson, Sidsel Christensen, James Iveson, Nina Wakeford, Daniel Lichtman, Evariste Maïga, Jessica Tsang, Matthew McQuillan, Warren McLachlan, Laura Morrison, JL Murtaugh, Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh, Nathan Witt and Alison Ballance

Can the bodyguard adduce instances of professional success? Had he a previous client? How much does pleasing matter? Is it the case that, on a certain morning, the garbage cans of the city, the garbage cans of the entire country, are overflowing with empty champagne bottles? Which bodyguard is at fault? *

This large-scale group show takes American writer Donald Barthelme’s 1978 short story of the same name as a provocative starting point to consider how current modes of expression assume the distanced observer, and represent, protect and expose figures such as the “vulnerable subject”**. In Barthelme’s story, the narrator builds the character of a bodyguard by accumulating doubts and uncertainties with a cool, detached form of questioning.

Co-curator Laura Morrison says: “However pleasing, when the detached interlocutor - here, male - directs our attention towards fragility - will it ever be what it says it is? This exhibition entertains the question of who can be wilfully vulnerable, who can only be exposed and made vulnerable and how these power dynamics are played out in contemporary art. It reflects on histories of paranoia, cynicism and the problems with self-defence and future orientation.”

Through work in video, performance, painting and sculpture spanning topics such as lesbian archives, life in a contemporary military service institution and the explosion of the Minneapolis synth-funk scene, the show offers the chance to consider if and how detached narration, which limits how we speak and act, can be challenged.

The exhibition follows a research residency at The Tetley and will be accompanied by a programme of discursive events and commissioned texts by writers including Gil Leung and Rebecca Bligh.


* The New Yorker, 1978

** The vulnerable subject. Amanda Russell Beattie & Kate Schick
(Editors) Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.


Oct 2nd 6-10pm: Performance and screening event at The Tetley

October 25/26th 12-4pm: Open discussion events at The Tetley.

Save the dates!


Opening Hours

Mon - Wed 11am - 6pm
Thursday 11 am - 8pm
Fri - Sat 11am - 6pm
Sunday 11am - 4pm

0113 320 2323

The Tetley
Hunslet Road
LS10 1JQ

Visit for more details on events across the exhibition. This website will be updated regularly with commissioned texts and new material.