This is Performance Art

Performance Matters, 2013, DVD, 34 & 29 mins

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This is Performance Art

Part One – Performed Sculpture and Dance

Part Two – Experimental Theatre and Cabaret

The first two episodes of Mel Brimfield’s multi-part fictional television documentary series mark 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 result is a comedic performative critique of performance art historiographies.

With her hilarious but affectionate deflation of performative pomposity, Brimfield has done for the history of performance art what Henry Reed’s fictional composer Hilda Tablet did for modern music on the Third Programme in the 1950s, what the inimitable entertainers Anna Russell and Joan Turner did for opera, and what the comedian Billy Dainty did for classical ballet.
David Briers, Art Monthly

Mel Brimfield is an artist working in film and performance. Between 2006/2008, she was Associate Producer at the Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, and also founded Brown Mountain College of the Performing Arts with Sally O’Reilly and Ben Roberts. Brimfield is a Cocheme fellow at Byam Shaw (Central St Martins), and is represented by Ceri Hand Gallery.

Contains booklet with an introduction by Sir Francis Spalding and excerpts from Genital Panic.

Watch the trailer below.

This is Performance Art Trailer from Live Art Development Agency on Vimeo.

Written and Directed by Mel Brimfield. Edited by Luke Collins.

This is Performance Art: Part One was commissioned by Camden Art Centre and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Courtesy of the artist and Ceri Hand Gallery. Script originally performed at Henry Moore Institute Sculpture and Performance conference, Tate Liverpool, 2010. This is Performance Art: Part Two was commissioned by Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and Performance Matters. Courtesy of the artist and Ceri Hand Gallery.

Part of the Crossovers series of artists’ films, documentaries and dialogues reflecting the potential of marginal artforms and intense ideas within popular media.