Fine art student and alumni George Storm Fletcher to launch new film and exhibition at Hyde Park Book Club in Leeds

H E A V E N is a new solo presentation of works by Leeds based artist George Storm Fletcher at Hyde Park Book Club, curated by Sarah Roberts, Benedetta D’ettorre and George Storm Fletcher.

Funded by Leeds City Council through the Leeds Cultural Investment Programme, this new exhibition and film have been created in collaboration with 2019 fine art alumni Ronnie Danaher and George's Mum, Amanda.

George Storm Fletcher is a performance artist and menace. Originally from Ely, in the fens of East Anglia, they have lived and worked in Leeds for six years. They are at their best when being outrageously queer, playful and heartfelt. In recent years, George’s work has manifested as a series of text-based architectural interventions, with an immediate, DIY aesthetic.

Having graduated with a BA Fine Art degree in 2022, George is currently undertaking a part-time MA in Fine Art at the University of Leeds and has shown extensively in the UK in a range of major institutions and artist-led spaces. They have undertaken residencies at the Barbican Arts Group Trust and Blauverschiebung festival, Galerie Kub, Leipzig.

Fletcher uses found objects, appropriating them for new compositions, with their distinctive lettering offering a new ‘voice’ for the object. Grounded in a sense of Britain’s shifting identity and blurred nostalgia, their work plays with informal expressions and slang, memory and storytelling, through a playful and empathic lens.

Poster for HEAVEN exhibition and film by George Storm Fletcher

Image courtesy of George Storm Fletcher.

For the exhibition H E A V E N, Fletcher documents an oral history of Leeds across two generations. This centres on a main road artery that runs through the student centre of Leeds – the infamous Kirkstall Road.

Initially Fletcher misunderstood their Mum and recounted the happenstance as occuring on Otley Road in LS6, home to Hyde Park Book Club; but as the tale unravels, the detail shifts and they rediscover the specifics of the story together on a journey in a new van, with fresh flowers.

At the heart of the research is Fletcher’s relationship with their Mum, Amanda. The film archives anecdotes as a point of connection, in a city that George lives in and their Mum grew up in.

George Storm Fletcher said:

“In 1984, my Mum went out in Leeds her old ‘stomping ground’ and fatefully missed the last bus. She started to walk back to Burley-in-Wharfedale, down Kirkstall Road.

“She got all the way to Guiseley when a floristry van picked her up and safely took her home. She describes the floral smell of that Interflora van as H E A V E N.”

Fletcher has collaborated with Leeds-based Filmmaker Ronnie Danaher to commit this storytelling to the screen, creating a new film piece HEAVEN (2024) and creating in itself a new fruitful exchange between the two artists. This audio-visual feast tells the story of coming of age, serendipitous encounters and the kindness of strangers in the style of a ‘road movie’.

The accompanying installation at Hyde Park Art Club will provide a visually generous safe space for others to consider and map their own relationship with the city and those around them, to collect details that would otherwise be lost. 

Sarah Roberts from Hyde Park Book Club said:

“Fletcher has created here a deftly layered combo of histories using contemporary politics and their signature sharp wit.

“The show is a glorious not to be missed intergenerational exchange that serves as a new living archive of Kirkstall Road for the duration of this show. It will live on as a new book of oral histories which will be available in Libraries in the city centre.

“We started Hyde Park Art Club to showcase emerging talent in the North and to offer a supportive test site for new ideas; this show and its bountiful offering reminds us exactly why we do it. George Storm Fletcher is an artist to keep an eye on. This self proclaimed 'menace' is destined for greatness.”

Two people looking through a window at flowers

Image courtesy of George Storm Fletcher and Ronnie Danaher.

Fletcher said:

“I have a rare opportunity to tell a story about kindness and safety. Embedded in my work is the belief that oral histories are valid forms of art. The exhibition and screening of the film are an ode to the changing nature of Leeds. It is a tool for connection with the people in the local area.

“The film and the exhibition record the story and a local history, but they also reflect on the here and now – Leeds is a city with a moving population, experiencing an enormous amount of change.

“The floristry van is a good metaphor for fleeting joyful moments, a physical manifestation of change and familial relationships as transient but impactful. The film allows for smaller stories that may have evolved during seminal histories; for example, it documents changing cultural behaviours, like hitchhiking, whilst questioning how the narrative around public safety has changed. I am so pleased as a queer artist to be able to spotlight a story that centres around joy.

“It has been a pleasure to make this film and exhibition – it is a testament to the collaborative and encouraging atmosphere of Leeds.”

More information

H E A V E N by George Storm Fletcher opens with a private view and film screening on 28 May from 6 to 8.30pm.

The exhibition is then open daily from 29 May to 28 August, 10am to 6pm, at Hyde Park Book Club, 27-29 Headingley Lane, Leeds LS6 1BL.

Find out more and book for the opening event.

Feature image

Courtesy of George Storm Fletcher and Ronnie Danaher.