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. 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.
Mel Brimfield was born in Oxford, 1976. She lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include 'Death and Dumb', John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK, 203; 'Between Genius and Desire', Ceri Hand Gallery, London, 2012; 'This Is Performance Art – Part 2: Experimental Theatre and Cabaret', LICA, Lancaster, 2012; 'This is Performance Art – Performed Sculpture and Dance', Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield and Mead Gallery, Warick, 2011; 'This is Performance Art: Performed Sculpture and Dance', Camden Art Centre, London, 2010; 'Waiter Waiter, Theres a Sculpture in my Soup: Part II, Performance Art and Comedy from Gutai to the Present' , Pumphouse Gallery, London, 2009 and Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool, 2008. Group exhibitions include 'Speak, Clown!', Fold Gallery, London, UK, 2013; 'Revealed: Government Art Collection', Ulster Museum, Belfast, UK, 2013; 'Revealed: Government Art Collection', Birmingham Museum, Birmingham, 2012; 'The Great Boxing Booth Revival', UK touring exhibition, 2012; 'Memory of a Hope', Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool, 2011 and 'LOCATE', Jerwood Visual Arts, London, 2010.
Mel's recent performances include 'An Audience with Willy Little', produced in collaboration with Dickie Beau and Paul Higgs, commissioned by artSOUTH Collaborations, 2013; 'This is Performance Art - Part 3: The Conceptual Burlesque of Nice Style the World's First Pose Band', the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2012; 'This is Performance Art', The Whitechapel, London, 2011; 'Trashing Performance', London, 2011; 'Intergender Wrestling', Word Festival, London, 2011 and 'The Breakfast Sculpture', Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2011.