2Death and Dumb Part II, Mel Brimfield
Somerset House Studios resident

Mel Brimfield

Visual artist making photographic, film and large-scale live performance works.

Somerset House Studios
New Wing

Mel Brimfield’s lively and diverse visual art practice takes a skewed and tangled romp through the already vexed historiography of performance, appropriating theatrical and mainstream entertainment formats and genres to appraise the use and value of received cultural hierarchies. Drawing together multiple institutions, agencies, curators and producers representing a broad spread of disciplines, her work is the result of intensive collaboration with a rolling cast of actors, composers and musicians, designers, choreographers, dancers and singers, resulting in photographic, film and large-scale live performance works.

2Death and Dumb Part I, Mel Brimfield
2Death and Dumb Part I, Mel Brimfield

Mel recently collaborated with composer Gwyneth Herbert to create a musical documentary film in the form of a Living Newspaper about visionary socialist theatre director Joan Littlewood for Art on the Underground. She built an ersatz Fluxus pianola-based kinetic sculptural installation for The Government Art Collection at the Whitechapel Gallery, and restaged Andy Kaufman’s Intergender Wrestling with comedian Simon Munnery for the London Word Festival. Mel Brimfield’s solo exhibitions include 'Death and Dumb', John Hansard Gallery (Southampton) 'Between Genius and Desire', Ceri Hand Gallery, (London); 'This is Performance Art – Performed Sculpture and Dance', Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Quantum Foam, Kinsale Arts Festival (Ireland).

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
Portrait with Bandaged Ear, Mel Brimfield
Portrait with Bandaged Ear, Mel Brimfield
Artists studio, Mel Brimfield
Artists studio, Mel Brimfield

Mel is already engaging with other residents to explore different approaches to making collective work, and is exploring how these relationships can feed an artist-led model for teaching interdisciplinary working for post graduate students.

Musical artwork heralds final GAC display