Leeds has been chosen as one of only three UK cities to take part in the second London Design Biennale. The city is exhibiting an installation curated by the internationally renowned Yorkshire fashion designer, Matty Bovan.
The global event, which is open to the public from 4 to 23 September, brings together the world’s most exciting and ambitious designers, innovators and curators at Somerset House to exhibit engaging and interactive design installations. This year, for the first time, cities have been invited to create fully designed rooms at the London Design Biennale, with Leeds, Liverpool and Dundee all exhibiting in rooms alongside countries and nations from across the globe.
Sponsored by Leeds 2023 and Leeds Beckett University, the Leeds room has been curated by Matty who brought artists Rory Mullen and Adam Leach on board for his response to the Biennale’s theme ‘Emotional States.’ Titled, ‘Just, Unjust’, the work is inspired by an Elizabethan wood carving depicting the “Dance of Death” which sits in The Red Drawing Room at Burton Agnes Hall in Yorkshire. It features high-fashion bespoke garments – designed especially by Matty for this project – as well as exciting live performances and video projections. Leeds Beckett PhD student and artist Zara Worth has supported the design team’s work.
Dr Lisa Stansbie, Dean of the School of Art, Architecture & Design at Leeds Beckett University, where Matty is a guest lecturer, said: “We are excited to be a part of the London Design Biennale and even more thrilled to be collaborating with Matty Bovan on the project. Matty’s innovative, cutting edge approach is an inspiration for all of the fashion designers of the future at Leeds Beckett University and he’s a fantastic role model for them, especially our PhD student Zara Worth who has been an important part of Matty’s team. Leeds is a fantastic city for fashion, art and design and the university has a key role to play in the creative scene in the city; we’re keen to see as many talented designers and artists stay in the region as possible.”
Matty said: “Myself, Rory Mullen and Adam Leach are pushing fear, love, passion and anger. Scarecrows will loom out of the darkness surrounded by projections, merging the audience and the work, meshed together in a world. A whole sensory vision.”
Sir John Sorrell CBE, President of London Design Biennale, and a renowned advocate and campaigner for creative education, says: “We were delighted when Leeds accepted our invitation to take part in the 2018 London Design Biennale, following the city’s bid for European Capital of Culture 2023. With its creative talent, such as Matty Bovan, who lives and works in Yorkshire, Leeds will make a brilliant contribution to the exhibition.”
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds has a long history of being a pioneer in the world of fashion and design and we’re proud to see that tradition continuing on such a prestigious, international stage.
“Our city’s support for new talent and its enthusiasm for fresh ideas have been driving forces behind making Leeds the exciting and vibrant cultural destination it is today.
“Our ambition now is to see Leeds recognised as a global cultural standard bearer and having the city represented at this event is another exciting step on the road towards making that vision a reality.”
Leeds 2023 is an international cultural festival which will harness the energy, creativity and momentum of the European Capital of Culture bid to celebrate the culture of Leeds and bring the best of global arts to the city.
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