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BED: In memory of Derek Jarman

BED: In memory of Derek Jarman

BED

In memory of Derek Jarman

Saturday 19 February, 11.00am – 4.00pm Manchester Art Gallery

The performance is a direct response to a film featured in the exhibition of Jarman’s installation at the Third Eye Centre Glasgow (now the CCA) as part of the National Review of Live Art in 1989. The installation featured two men in a bed, surrounded by barbed wire cage, tabloid headlines of the time vilifying Lesbian, Gay and HIV+ people, and a series of tarred and feathered mattresses on the walls.

BED updates this installation from the perspective of 2022 and is an animation of, and reflection on the exhibition.

Centrally located in the 1960s/70s ‘landscape’ space exhibition is a white mattress, white sheet, duvet and pillows. The performance begins with two people entering the space dressed as they normally would for bed. Whilst in the bed they talk quietly to each other, read, sleep or cuddle. The bed is white, peaceful, uncluttered, and insular. An island of peace and safety. Five different couples will occupy the bed over the performance’s five hour duration.

The couple in the original installation were two white cis gay men. The ‘couples’ selected for the performance aim to reflect the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community as it is now.

Jez Dolan said: “Like many frightened and closeted gay men of my generation, I first encountered Derek through his films when first broadcast on television. My finger firmly on the button, should my parents walk into the room. Derek opened a world of possibility, of bold beauty, of defiant and glorious homosexuality and changed my life.

During my residency I have spent significant hours in the exhibition, getting to know the works on a deep and intimate level. This made me want to take Jarman’s 1989 installation and update it for where the LGBTQIA+ community is today. A more diverse and (hopefully) less vilified group. Moving away from the violence of crass tabloid headlines and the aggression of tar and barbed wire to create a space which is calm, enclosing, filled with love and reflects our community as it really is."

Jez Dolan’s residency is supported by Arts Council England and Manchester Art Gallery.

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Published: 17-Feb-2022

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