Mel Brimfield: ‘Waiter Waiter, there’s a Sculpture in my Soup’, Performance Art and Comedy from Gutai to the Present. 18 September – 19 October 2008
Mel Brimfield’s solo show at Ceri Hand Gallery is the first major exhibition to examine the rich history of collaborative practice between comedians and performance artists to date.
From the seminal What’s in the Box? performances by proto-feminist magic act Debee McGee and Carolee Schneeman, at the now infamous Double Action Windmill Theatre Revue, to the unique comedy stylings of Perrier Best Newcomer award winner Rudolf Schwarzkogler, the exhibition seeks to trace the complex web of connections between the two fields.
Highlights include a live performance of early Les Dawson experimental piano works, (performed live on the opening night), transposed by composer Paul Clark from rare BBC archive footage of Theater Piece No 1, shown alongside the outré panto Dame Trott costume for the 1982 Christmas production of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Manchester Hippodrome, that was to propel Dawson from a life on the Working Men’s Club circuit to international fame as a performance artist, model, fashion designer and promoter of wild polysexual disco club night ‘Taboo’.
This is a unique presentation of previously unseen ephemera, artefacts and documentation relating to some of the most significant performance work of the last 50 years, framed by anecdotes and reminiscences from leading lights working within this vibrant field.
‘… A celebration of transience, a paean to you-had-to-be-there, a deep and exhilarating bow to we-have-only-now.’ Professor Emeritus Yaffle Chucklebutty, noted Operatic Tenor and Sausage Knotter
‘Funny as fuck.’ Peggy Phelan