Portland is almost an island – cut off from the main land.
Artist Melanie Thompson's work is about creating circumstances to cut through the everyday into the magic and strange that is lurking just below the surface. And to reveal what we have forgotten is there.
The act of cutting is very decisive; once you have made the cut you cannot go back.
Reg Paveley has been a tailor for over sixty years (his father was the first tailor to fit a zip in trousers) Reg's business is to cut the cloth for each individual he meets. Each encounter is unique and specific, the shop is a place where people meet and things are made. Thompson will create an ongoing miniature installation in Reg's shop window over the residency from objects found and created over the residency.
Victoria Gardens cut through the landscape of Fortuneswell 100 years ago, what was once a common became a formal park. Thompson will inhabit the gardens and surrounding areas and meet and talk to people about their relationship to Portland with her assistant Claire. We will ask each person we meet to cut out an individual tailored figure, color it in and add it to the collection which will be placed in the mortuary to become part of the developing installation.
The green grass bowlers sustain the formality of the park; the clubhouse stands as a memory to those slower days. The act of bowling cuts through time. Melanie will meet and talk to the bowlers and festival visitors, show a film about her work and green grass bowling, and from that meeting create a installation /response to their game on the bowling green.
Stranger's cemetery is now a closed cemetery, a resting place for many drowned souls. It is now surrounded on all sides by the modern world, forgotten and unseen. The mortuary was a resting place for the physical body. Each body was unique and specific. Melanie wants to cut the ivy from the overgrown graves and take the ivy to the old mortuary to add to an ongoing installation of light and images honoring memory and reflection.
UPDATE 21/09/2010: "Just had a very full 4 days, travelling around Fortuneswell with Claire my assistant meeting people and sharing stories and conversations. The work is now in the mortuary installation which is open 2-5 Thursday Sept 23rd to Sunday 26th this week. Met up with the Victoria Bowling club on Monday and gave a talk about my work and showed a film entitled The Lawn Bowling incident, which set up a discussion on bowling and ideas for the installation I am creating on Friday this week on the bowling green. We are also present in the strangers graveyard on Saturday Sept 25th to share the act of cutting the ivy! Revealing old graves that have been covered for many years."
Video by Melanie Thompson