In association with Kinsale Arts Festival
Clement Greenberg – Lee Krasner = Jackson Pollock, 2011
Between Genius and Desire – Jackson (after Ed Harris), 2012
By Mel Brimfield
Screening Times: 1-4pm from Thursday 20th – Saturday 22nd November 2014
Quantum Foam is a touring exibition of work by UK artist Mel Brimfield, her first showing in the Republic of Ireland. Presented by Kinsale Arts Festival, Wexford Arts Centre, Luan Gallery, Galway Arts Centre and The LAB, Quantum Foam is a retrospective of the artist’s work, with each gallery presenting a different series of existing works.
Operating at the intersection of live art, theatre and film, Brimfield’s 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. This tour sees an extension of that collaboration with the gallery space itself. Each series is selected in response to the galleries own multifaceted or evolving milieu as an introduction to the artist’s work.
The tour opened at Kinsale Arts Festival in September, with a series of film works positing the gallery as stage, and the international premiere of title work, Quantum Foam.
We are delighted to present Clement Greenberg – Lee Krasner = Jackson Pollock, 2011. In this film, Lee Krasner is re-imagined as a downtrodden, dowdy frump and Pollock is reduced to a helpless feral dog-like caricature – smashing things up, urinating on carpets, chasing balls and hanging his head out of the car window with his tongue lolling – a version of Pollock’s much discussed alcoholism and primitive urges. Krasner puts up a relentlessly optimistic front despite Greenberg’s blatant misogyny and the art world’s complete disinterest in her as anything other than Pollock’s carer.
Also presented is Between Genius and Desire – Jackson (after Ed Harris), 2012. In this film by Brimfield the focus is on movies about artists, including Ed Harris’ unintentionally comic turn as a moist-eyed, thick-skulled Jackson Pollock, lumbering dumbly about the studio like an injured bison to the thrum of inexpressible emotion in his Hollywood biopic. Condensing their performances into fragments of their most emotive monologues, Dickie Beau presents a composite portrait of a ‘great artist’ revealed through a variety of cliches – the emotional register ranges from hysterical and desperate to the ecstatic and violent. Extending the drag tradition of lip-synching, Beau’s complex performances address the construction of gender identity and celebrity personalities.
Mel Brimfield is an artist working in film and live performance. The roots of her practice lie in her long-term commitment to devising support structures for the development and coherent presentation of interdisciplinary performance work.
Brimfield enlists the services of a diverse range of performers to realise her own complex productions in galleries, theatres and at academic conferences, recently including 30-piece Dinnington Colliery Band with dance theatre company New Art Club, cabaret artist/theatre maker DIckie Beau, Italian Olympic gymnast Alice Capitani and songwriter Gwyneth Herbert.
Documentary-style films and live works playfully associate performance art with most significant cultural developments of the last 100 years. Low-end showbiz memoirs, sensationalist biographical documentaries and cheap-to-make TV clip programmes compiling lists of ‘The 100 Top/Best/Greatest…’ are referenced in the work alongside formal museological displays of performance ephemera and documentation. The second hand anecdotes and mythologies surrounding 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.
Born in 1976, Mel Brimfield lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Void Gallery, Derry (2014), John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2013), Ceri Hand Gallery, London (2012); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield and Mead Gallery, Warwick (2011) and Camden Art Centre, London (2010).
Venues for recent and forthcoming exhibitions, residencies and performances include National Theatre Studio, Whitechapel Gallery, Henry Moore Institute and Liverpool Tate and Void Gallery (Derry).
For further information on the tour please log onto www.quantumfoam.ie