Little Lethaby – Bill Leslie, Solo Show

Dr Bill Leslie – Solo Show: 7 December 2021 – 11 January 2022 in the Little Lethaby Gallery

Bill’s PhD research was titled “Good Enough Sculptures: What Happens When Sculptures are Made to be Filmed?” and is predicated on the processes of transformation that photography and filmmaking bring to their “subject”. In his practice-based doctoral research, Bill made a large number of physical artefacts, small “sculptures” produced with the express purpose of being transformed though the mediation of the mechanical eye of the camera.

In bringing some of these objects to the Little Lethaby Gallery, Bill exposes them to yet another process of transformation. Within the 1:15 model the small objects transmogrify into large sculptures. While they can be seen through the roof apertures and the model’s windows by the exhibition visitors, these artefacts are most fully transformed when viewed through the mechanical eye of the miniature camera which permanently resides in the model, and broadcasts its vision to a nearby television screen.

The resulting exhibition hovers between a “real” exhibition, using “real” artworks in “real” space, to that of a design for a full-sized, but as yet unrealised, exhibition. The piece acts as both “representation” and “reality”.

Bill joined Eleanor in the Lethaby gallery on the 6 December (when it was closed to the public) bringing a collection of the small sculptural artefacts that he had produced as part of his Doctoral research.

Through conversation with Eleanor, and with reference to the interior model view afforded by the miniature camera, Bill curated his objects within the Little Lethaby Gallery. Considerations of various viewpoints, via the model’s cutaway ceiling and its various doors and windows, and that of the interior camera, impacted the curation of the exhibition.

The small size of the model and exhibits allowed this process to be one of realtime, full sized-curation – a process that would be very difficult in a full-sided gallery, with large sculptural objects.

Bill and Eleanor had worked together on a previous project, connected to their TECHNE PhD funding. The “Making Representations” exhibition and symposium at the Phoenix Gallery in Brighton in March 2019, where our work variously addressed questions of representation – architectural, filmic, mathematical, linguistic and photographic.

Bill exhibited many of his small sculptures (of which some are included in the Little Lethaby exhibition), and ran a workshop for participants to film and photograph these artefacts, so linking their performative and generative acts to those of his own Doctoral research.

Eleanor’s project for the Making Representations exhibition, “Phoenix Gallery Timeframes”, focussed on the relationship between representational artefact and architectural space, and the viewer’s agency in both. A precursor to the Little Lethaby project, Eleanor constructed a 1:20 scale model of the main gallery space, and set up small video cameras to film and live-stream the space within the model, incorporating a view through to the real space of the street beyond the windows.