Melanie Manchot is a London based visual artist who works with photography, ﬁlm and video as a performative and participatory practice. Her projects often explore specific sites, public spaces or particular communities in order to locate notions of individual and collective identities. The mutability of subjectivity as well as the agency of the camera in creating a set of relations are key interests within Manchot’s investigation of personhood and its reprentations.
Frequently based on long periods of research and engagement with groups of people her practice (and production) tends to be informed by a process based methodology.
In her early work, such as her expansive series photographing her mother over a period of five years, the practice often looked towards the body as a (contested) site of subjectivity, exploring notions of beauty through performative gestures choreographed for the camera.
More recent moving image pieces have focused on collective experiences and their relationship to the formation of memory. Celebrations (Cyprus Street), 2010 is based on the rich history of public street parties in London’s East End. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, and developed as part of a residency in East London undertaken in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, the film draws inspiration from the tradition of group portraiture in historic newsreel footage and photographs recording these events. Filmed as a 35mm tracking shot that pivots on a central, durational group portrait, the piece investigates the relation between still and moving images, between photography and film.
Dance (All Night, Paris) focuses on the act of dancing in public and examines a range of meanings embedded in dancing as a collective experience. The video piece brings together ten forms of dancing, from Tango and Waltz to Hip Hop and Rock, occupying one space side-by-side, simultaneously, creating a multiplicity of movements and rhythms.
Twelve is Manchot’s new multi-channel video installation developed over the course of two years in close dialogue with twelve people in recent recovery from substance misuse. Built over a slow process of regular workshops and exchanges, the work is at once cinematic and intimate, performative and rich in affective stories and gestures.
Her work has been shown nationally and internationally including exhibitions at Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; Hayward Gallery, London; The Whitechapel Gallery, London; MacVal, Musee d’Art Contemporain, Paris; The Photographers Gallery, London; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Australian Museum of Photography, Sydney; The Courtauld Institute, London; Museum Folkwang, Essen and as part of Nuit Blanche, Paris. She is the recipient of many awards including the Oriel Davies Award 2012.
Manchot received her MA in Fine Art Photography from the Royal College of Art in 1992. She was a lecturer at many UK art colleges including Goldsmiths College, London, The University of the Arts, London and continues to contribute to conferences and symposia internationally.
Her major video installation ‘Twelve’ was presented as a solo national touring show from 2015-2016. Her latest work ‘Out of Bounds’ is currently on view as part of the Marl Video Art Award at Sculpture Museum Glaskasten in Germany. Melanie is currently artist-in-residence with Cambridge University, working towards a new commission for 2017.