rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance

Mel Brimfield This is Performance Art: Parts One and Two



This is Performance Art: Parts One and Two DVD - order here (DVD available January 2014)

Watch the trailer here.

Don’t miss the first ever double-bill screening of the first two parts of Mel Brimfield’s critically acclaimed project at Camden Arts Centre on 22 January 2014 – see here


Mel Brimfield's complex practice takes a skewed and tangled romp through the already vexed historiography of performance art, simultaneously revealing and inventing a rich history of collaboration between artists, dancers, theatre makers, political activists and comedians. Meticulously drawn and painted posters and programmes for fictional interdisciplinary cabarets, together with costumes and props, are produced alongside documentary-style films and live works that playfully associate performance art with most significant cultural developments of the last 100 years. 

Mel Brimfield, This is Performance Art: Part One - Performed Sculpture and Dance

Mel Brimfield, This is Performance Art: Part Two - Experimental Theatre and Cabaret

These are the first two episodes of a multi-part fictional television documentary series marking the fragmentary and unreliable nature of performance art’s historical record. Low-end showbiz memoirs, sensationalist biographical documentaries and cheap-to-make TV clip programmes compiling lists of ‘The 100 Top/Best/Greatest…’ are referenced alongside the faulty mechanics of museological, archival and curatorial approaches to assimilating Live Art. The secondhand anecdotes and mythologies surrounding the performers and their performances are expanded, distorted and completely supplanted by new fictions, with archival photographs and footage, and authentic ephemera being appropriated and re-contextualised, or entirely invented at will.

Part One features constructed archival performance ‘documentation’ produced with actress Joanna Neary and The Beaux Belles dance troupe, with a voice over by artist Brian Dewan.
  Part Two’s voiceover is performed by Sir Francis Spalding (actor Tony Green).

More information about Mel Brimfield's work on the Ceri Hand website.

Mel Brimfield, This is Performance Art: Part One, Performed Sculpture and Dance was commissioned by Camden Art Centre and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Courtesy of the artist and Ceri Hand Gallery.
Mel Brimfield, This is Performance Art: Part Two, Experimental Theatre and Cabaret was commissioned by Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and Performance Matters, a collaboration between the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance at University of Roehampton, and the Live Art Development Agency. Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.Courtesy of the artist and Ceri Hand Gallery.
Performance Matters, 2013, PAL-DVD, Region 2, 34 & 29 mins.