Yves Leather (They / Them)
Yves Leather is the offspring of the anti-aesthetic and the cynic. The by-products being self-deprecatory, observational and ready-made. Yves uses performance, print and photography to communicate these attributes to the voluntary spectator or the involuntary public. Such actions challenge the societal ideals surrounding human behaviour, relationships and intimacy, by bringing it into a world of critical-fiction, fantasy and sometimes rebellion. The resulting discomfort is seen as an opportunity to engage with those who are outside of the art scene and be inclusive to modes of thought that are not universally accepted or mutually subscribed. Visually, this oftentimes represents itself through disjointed and unrelated spectrums of colour that closely mirror the artist’s own cognitive nature.
As an Artist with Asperger’s Syndrome, I often find it difficult to explain what the intent of a piece is. I am very captious by nature, whereby I no longer accept the original endorsement of a piece as its inception. ‘Inflated Pleasure’ originally started out as an outcome of an argument between myself and my curator. On the question: Does great art need to have a purpose in order to be well received? … I don’t believe it does, my practice is open for interpretation hereby the conclusions should be made by the audience regardless of intent or not.
5000 x 3000 x 1200
Produced in China
This is the image of a 24 Carat Gold Leaf painting, smoking hours after a hearing Russia has Invaded Ukraine. Another unnecessary war, a helpless feeling.
900 x 650
Wood, Gold Leaf, PVC, Cigarette
Troubles and Trouble
This piece is part of an ongoing project into depictions of great rebellions. It is my friend C.M.D, his Irish decent, stories, & hearsay within in the Republic of Ireland. Painted onto the Tricolour, and wrapped in plastic as an internal state. The objects of a cigarette and Tommy Gun are used as methods of questioning the subjects virility.
Wood, Paint, Cigarette, Plaster, Inflatable Tommy Gun, PVC, The Tricolour
900 x 1000
Delusions are Conclusions
This Piece is part of my Inflated Gossip series. The series includes 25 separate inflatable prints of varying subjects.
Silkscreen Print on PVC with Inflatable Frame.
Donated to Glasgow School of Art Print Archive
870 x 570
Don’t believe everything Yves Leather tells you!
Don’t Believe Everything Yves Leather Tells You was a Solo exhibition of Yves Leather’s Work in collaboration with Photographer Jack Thomson & Curation by Ciaran MacDomhnaill. The Exhibition ran from the 13th to 18th of July at the Pipe Factory Space in Glasgow’s East End.
This exhibition centres on gossip within a queer context. Gossip and discussions of sexuality, especially homosexuality, have been habitually bracketed off into lesser quotidian modes of communication, positioned outside the circuits of art critical meaning and exchange. We argue that a ‘serious’ contribution of gossip to this historiographical debate can be achieved through an ostentatious and unapologetic use of gossip before, during and after the exhibition. This gossip touches upon subjects of relationship, friendship, sex, sexuality, neurodiversity and the sale of art.
Primary artwork by Yves Leather (they/them) written By Ciaran MacDomhnaill
Many of the artwork in the exhibition are inflated, tying into the idea of ‘inflated gossip’ and the use of inflatables in mattresses, sex toys and representations of naïvety. For example, Yves inflated their interpretation of a recent relationship with an American lover, a relationship that was fragile, easily punctured and is now standing at a point in which it needs to be ‘put to bed’. The art piece Spider Rock in Arizona (2022) is a romantic homage to this lover: An American rock, an American cock. Gossip surrounding this monolithic-style art piece has created many grey areas, truthfully Yves’s perception of the relationship might be unilateral and rather abstract. Hence, the reality of this unreality can be seen as a type of abstract romanticism that is translated visually into works that touch upon outsider art, graffiti, found art and abstract expressionism. The use of inflated toys and the installation of “literal objects” such as airplanes and dinosaurs represents the gullibility of those who encounter Yves and wholeheartedly believe their anecdotes. Do you believe the love story? The artwork’s solicitation of its audience challenges the myth surrounding the autonomy of art. The artwork unmasks our group participation in this social phenomenon and the spectator’s lust for the spectacle. In their artistic practice, Yves has lived quite an individual subjective existence because they often turn to anti-formalism and spontaneity. The gossip and untruths change by the hour and get embedded into the very fabric of their artwork. The title of the exhibition can be seen as a form of self-abasement or as a more honest and hopeful adventure into critical culture. One that is full of lies.
A sponsored exhibition can fall prey to the ‘economies of interest’. As a result, this exhibition is sponsored by no one important.
Inner Conflict and Gayness
Inner Conflict and Gayness was a Solo Show of Yves Leather’s Work and in collaboration with Photographer Jack Thomson at The Barnes Garage Space. Sponsored by The Pipe Works & GSA Student Association. 23rd – 25th March 2022
This exhibition came out of a series of conversations with Yves, Curator Ciaran MacDomhnaill & Artist Andy Murray. Ciaran decided to included the various conversations in the exhibition booklet as an insight into creative process of Yves’ work.
DIALOGUE BETWEEN CIARÁN, ANDY AND YVES
Saramago, 17th of March 2022
CIARÁN: I just want to record for myself because I’m writing the text for the exhibition, and I liked what you said about Yves’s work but I can’t remember it because you deleted the WhatsApp messages.
ANDY: I’m going to try my best to remember
CIARÁN: Your best? Three minutes ago, you said you’d remember it word-for-word
ANDY: I remember it word-for-word. It’s the artist’s job to be misunderstood and Yves is going to be misunderstood. Yves is an artist that wants to be in control of their semiotics. They want to make artwork that a dumb policeman will understand.
CIARÁN: I wonder who you are talking about (tone of sarcasm)
ANDY: Yves has the references in the paintings that are designed to allure such a radical simplicity: a rocket ship, a red gun etc. Certain colours which led to a basic signifier and signified systems.
CIARÁN: A structuralist kind of way?
ANDY: A structuralist idea of sexuality, aggressiveness, and also to war. Some artists don’t want to be criticised as being simple and being perceived as making ‘dumb policeman art’ because if they are perceived as making ‘dumb policeman art’ then you won’t know the subtlety. Because with – subtlety you can protect yourself intellectually. So the idea is that people create complex work be cause complexity can be protected. Most of the time the art has no ‘wall power’ from what I have noticed. It is all about the artist’s own reference system and then you need to know the symbols of that reference system and most of the time you are not invited into the work. What I am trying to say is that Yves’s work is trying to do something..
YVES: I am here
ANDY: This is..
YVES: Carry on
CIARÁN: Did Yves just say “I am here?”
ANDY: Yes, they did. Yves is trying to do work that is so simple that is actually quite complex at the same time. He is trying to throw the viewer off, that they are simple references or simple symbols, but they are not simple!
CIARÁN: Yes, blatant symbolism
ANDY: What I admire about Yves is that they are so committed to the work and confident that – they have got their life and soul, insecurities, all the things that are conventionally anti-masculine, fragility, sensibility, loneliness, and other concerns.
ANDY: All the things that I have had to spend six months knowing and learning from Yves. Lust but not knowing how to programme it. They are in there but if 80% of the viewers don’t get it; is it successful work? I don’t know but I think they have made the right decisions doing it. The attitude “I can’t do it any other way”
You can find the rest of the transcript on the link below.