The Mutation



Press Release written by Curator Lawrence Molloy:

Claire Blundell Jones and Tom Poultney work together to change the way audiences approach 'a delicate matter' gallery.
The exhibition runs from Thursday 11th to 26th May 2006. 'a delicate matter' Gallery is open Weekdays 11am to 4pm and is situated inside Patrick Studios, St Mary's Lane (between St Mary's Street and Rider St), Leeds, LS9 7DW.

'a delicate matter' is a 36 inch contemporary art gallery in Leeds devoted to enabling artists to realise their most ambitious artworks. In October 2005 both Tom Poultney and Claire Blundell Jones, independent of each other, and both with entirely different modes of artistic practice, approached 'a delicate matter' with proposals which, upon first reading, curator Lawrence Molloy understood to be similar in many ways. Poultney and Blundell Jones both proposed projects unlike any that 'a delicate matter' had shown before. Previous artists that 'a delicate matter' has exhibited have used the gallery to enable them to make works that they have had difficulty making due to spatial or monetary problems.

These two artists decided to use the physical attributes and the idea/pretence of this 36-inch space being a gallery as the subject matter upon which to build their exhibition. The starting point for both artists was to concentrate on the external features of the gallery rather than the internal ones such as the walls, floor ceiling, mouldings and dimensions that make up the exhibition space.

'a delicate matter' gallery, is viewed by looking into the window of a simple cubic casing. Both artists thought that by changing the external appearance of the gallery/ the casing they could affect the ways in which the viewers would think about 'a delicate matter' gallery, as an object, a gallery open to the public and as a concept.
The artists have added an ornate obstacle, in the shape of a material hood to the entrance. The audience will have to navigate this 'hood' in order to view the exhibition inside the gallery, which playfully utilises surveillance technologies in order to add yet another layer to their critique. The navigation forces the spectator out of their conventional mode of viewing behaviour, highlighting the scale and ludicrousness of this gallery as well as its uniqueness.

'They question what 'a delicate matter' is and whom it's for. For any space open to be used by the public these are valuable questions, but for me as a curator and owner of a 36-inch gallery they are fundamental even possibly dangerous ones. I know it's a risk putting on this exhibition as it could undermine the idea that 'a delicate matter' is what it is, a gallery, but their proposals fell within the galleries remit so my hands were tied.' - Lawrence Molloy Curator 'a delicate matter'

For the private view night only, the CCTV video footage was recorded. This picked up intimate images of every spectator who put their head under the hood. I have edited this material into a video entitled: “I caught your eye across the room...”