Melanie Menard is part of #TheGalleryProject. #TheGalleryProject includes artworks from 47 artists from 27 different countries. Each work reflects a unique perspective and as a whole, the exhibition series refuses to present a standardized narrative. Rather, it becomes clear that being queer means something different to each artist, whether sexually, politically, or aesthetically.
Each artist represented in the exhibition has developed their own strategies for coping with their lived realities and addressing (or not addressing) them in their art. The works displays sex, fragility, anger, courage, hope, nihilism, strength, fear, and beauty.
About the artist:
I work across photography, video, digital, and performance. The interests underlying all my work are the tensions between the individual and the place and circumstances they inhabit, and the human mind in conflict with itself. In visual media, I design an aesthetic representing an individual’s thought processes, using a precisely crafted audio-visual mood and rhythm to trap the audience into their subjective experience. My performance mixes popular alt-drag cabaret with live-art aesthetics to question gender identities, and portray individuals fighting restrictive social norms. I show work in exhibitions, galleries, film festivals, clubs as well as traditional performance venues.
In past projects, I depicted abandoned empty spaces as psychologically charged by looking for traces of their long gone inhabitants. Ghost House explored abandoned houses in Ireland and reflected on Catholicism and rural exodus. Disciplinary Institutions (after Michel Foucault) explored places where people were made obedient through the pre-emptive repression of any deviation from the norm (mental asylums, Magdalene laundries, workhouses). In current projects, I explore individuals’ unique relationship with gender roles, and how it may relate to their yearnings and aspirations.
I hold a MA Digital Arts with Distinction from Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London, and trained as a jazz and cabaret singer with Paul Sand, and in extended vocal performance with Jon Stancato. I have exhibited internationally, including at the Royal West of England Academy, FILE Electronic Arts Festival (Brazil), Electrofringe Festival (Australia), Optica Festival (Spain & Argentina), Portland Experimental Film Festival, Gendereel Film Fest touring the USA, Instants Video France, Wotever DIY Queer Film Fest at The Cinema Museum London, on the website of the Photographer’s Gallery London and Visions in the Nunnery, London.
About the artwork:
‘Tricyclic Transform’ spans photography, video and performance as a full-length solo queer musical cabaret show. ‘Tricyclic Transform’ theatricalizes the genderqueer experience by documenting the creation and self-destruction of my ‘biologically-challenged drag-queen’ alter-ego Miss Liliane. They try to negotiate restrictive gender-roles by performing symbolic rituals, but the inability of their mind to comfortably inhabit any predefined role causes them to get trapped in an endless loop of repeated, pointless gestures. ‘Tricyclic Transform’ presents gender as a cyclical spectrum: Miss Liliane tries on gender identities as they try on clothes and body language. But each time new inner conflicts arise, propelling them further round the gender wheel, until they come back full circle, to a genderless, endlessly questioning, naked body.
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This work by Melanie Menard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
You can contact/find more work of Melanie’s work here.
I’m especially keen on hearing from musicians, composers and sound designers, as I lack these skills, but interested in any kind of collaborations with any artist in any media sharing my interests/themes/outlook.
In particular, I have 2 ideas at research stage, for which I need to collaborate with people with complementary skill sets:
I want to collaborate with musicians and composers on new dark cabaret/dark folk songs based on Decadent poems or other historic queer texts, in the tradition of Michael Cashmore/Marc Almond ‘Feating with Panthers’.
I am writing the script for a short queer psychodrama that explores a man’s split personality from a first person perspective. I would need to collaborate with a soundtrack designer, actors/performers, and possibly more experienced filmmakers with technical experience of making narrative short films.