Mel Brimfield’s residency is a historical reappraisal of performance art in the 20th Century. Through a series of discussions, documentary research, re-enactments and live performances she undertakes an examination of what can be said to constitute the ontology of ‘live art’ within current discourse. This research forms the basis for a documentary film, the first in a series, charting a new narrative through the fragmented and often unreliable documentary record of this elusive art form.
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.
The final film is screened in the Artists’ Studio at Camden Arts Centre at the culmination of the residency. The next phase of This is Performance Art is shown at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2011.