The Tetley in Leeds will be launching a brand new exhibition this Thursday from artist and curator, Mel Brimfield. After nearly a year’s delay due to the pandemic, The Tetley is delighted to be able to bring this timely creative exploration of the alienating effects of mental health and our deep need for community to Leeds.
Operating at the intersection of theatre, live art and film
Mel Brimfield’s interdisciplinary and collaborative practice is rooted in scripted performance, incorporating live work, moving image, staged audio, installation and drawing. Brimfield’s work aims to bring audiences for the arts together and erode historic distinctions between creative fields.
From This World, to That Which Is to Come takes its title from John Bunyan’s 1678 parable The Pilgrim’s Progress, which describes a fictional pilgrimage from ‘The City of Destruction’ to ‘The Celestial City’. Brimfield reimagines this tale as a loose allegory for a collapse of mental health and the fraught journey to recovery.
Marking the culmination of two years’ work
Based on a research residency at Bethlem Royal Hospital’s National Psychosis Unit and Kings College Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in 2018-19. Brimfield conducted interviews and workshops collecting personal testaments from patients, carers, nursing staff, neuroscientists, clinicians and activists. The resulting series of works explore the alienating effects of mental ill health and treatment at an individual, familial and societal level, whilst presenting a celebration of the radical potential of collective creative action and kindness.
Brimfield directly unites and foregrounds the community groups and networks
Central to the exhibition is STAND, 2020, a sixteen speaker sculptural audio installation in The Tetley’s Atrium, co-produced with composer Gwyneth Herbert. It houses a complex choral composition responding to a poignant spoken word recitation by a Bethlem inpatient recorded by Brimfield during her residency.
This epic sound sculpture was built and performed by over 100 collaborators, including UK Men’s Sheds and Men’s Sheds Cymru; mental health service users and staff; and prison inmates. Through this work, Brimfield directly unites and foregrounds the community groups and networks offering vital support at a time of crisis in the provision of effective mental health services.
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