Melanie Thompson has been working as an artist for 30 years – the body has always been my base line, my material, but where the body finds itself – it’s place and space are equally important in the equation.
‘The body is a fluid signifying system, which in the 21st century is continuously undergoing challenging and liberating transformations’.
The Artist’s Body; Tracy Warr
I started as a dancer, moved in physical theatre, became a performance artist and then a public one. I am now trying to develop site sensitive works that encapsulate my varied practice through collaboration. Collaboration with landscape, artists who offer me different skills and people from my local community. I have travelled away from home to work for many years so I am now focusing on the places and history I inhabit through two different projects.
Project 1 : Palace Intrusions
Palace Intrusions is a new year-long public arts project, curated by Melanie Thompson and Helen Ottaway of Artmusic. The project is taking place in Wells, Somerset, with monthly events and arts interventions, called Benchmarks, beginning in October 2007 and culminating in a spectacular site-specific performance in the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace in September 2008.
All events will be free and many will be participatory ,involving the general public of all ages, local schools and community groups.
Each month – starting October 2007 an event will occur around or on one of the benches that stand looking at the palace and moat and surrounding countryside. There will be 12 events in all, involving local and visiting artists. The benches themselves will be used as a platform for the presentation of a commission.
The final Benchmark will be an exhibition in the Bishop’s Palace gallery throughout the month of September 2008. Benchmarks will take many forms sculpture, live art, sonic walks, lectures, banquets, musical performance, photography and much more.
Up to date events:
Benchmark 1 : Bronwin Bradshaw – October 2007
Benchmark 2 : Melanie Thompson and Jane Hazlewood November 2007
Benchmark 3 : Helen Ottaway and Melanie Thompson December 2007
Benchmarks will continue through 2008 and the work produced by the artists and local participants will form an ongoing and developing exhibition on view at the Wells Museum throughout the year,
for all details and up to date info look at : www.palaceintrusions.org.uk
In 2006 I was invited to join the team of Bristol Zoo’s new conservation project the N.W.C.P as initially an arts consultant but to develop into a lead artist role. The project will open in 2011; there is a desire to create a fully integrated design in collaboration with commissioned artists as an integral part of the conservation park and visitors experience. My brief is to expand and activate that vision. All my past public art work has been based on active ongoing conversation and negotiation, this project will continue to develop this interactive discourse between all members of the project and later the visiting artists.