Artangel Explores Tender Subject Of Gay Prisoners

Artangel announce upcoming performance installation by award-winning British artist Mark Storor – A Tender Subject

‘a tender subject’, taking place at a secret location in London from 16 – 31 March, is a performance installation by award-winning British artist Mark Storor. A culmination of three years’ work, it explores moments of truth and tenderness in the complex setting of the UK prison system.

Commissioned by Artangel, ‘a tender subject’ began as a series of collaborative workshops with gay male prisoners, prison officers and prison staff across the country. Storor, interested in the potential to observe moments of tenderness within an environment where tenderness is least expected, encountered the fine relationship between fragility and brutality, tenderness and violence, as he explored the question; ‘in a hostile environment, where everyone has a role to play, how do you maintain a sense of yourself?’ By forming close ties with key individuals and support networks within the prison system, and introducing safe places within the prisons, the workshops became a space where the men could express themselves and reflect on what it means to be gay and in prison and why we react and judge the way we do.

Since 2008, the project has succeeded in addressing complex institutional relationships, the initial denial of the existence of gay men in prison and the difficulties presented by fear, homophobia and violence. It gave men, whose lives are not seen to be their own, the opportunity to imagine quiet and tender moments: the thought of the act of crying; the terror of, and need to, attach a smile to someone.

The final work, presented this March, tells the stories from these workshops, of Storor’s experiences during the project and the prisoners’ and prison officers’ own moments of tenderness. ‘a tender subject’ audiences will be transported at twilight from a central London meeting point to a secret site in the City of London. They will be escorted by prison officers to encounter aspects of live art, installation and performance. The piece will feature some of the project’s long term collaborators and run for 14 nights only.

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