Internationally renowned artist Melanie Manchot has a new film and installation showing at Tobacco Warehouse as part of the 2023 Liverpool Biennial
STEPHEN (2023), blurs the lines between fact and fiction to examine addiction and recovery. Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial, the film was created with a mixed cast of professional actors and local people from the recovery community. STEPHEN is based on the real-life story of Thomas Goudie, a clerk at the Bank of Liverpool, caught embezzling money to support his obsessive gambling. Goudie’s arrest became the world’s first crime-reconstruction and first film made in Liverpool in 1901 by filmmakers Mitchell and Kenyon. For this project, Manchot has collaborated with recoverist Stephen who plays the lead role, drawing on his own experiences of addiction recovery.
Stephen is auditioning to play himself in an inventive, cinematic and moving exploration of addiction and mental health.
Throughout her practice, Manchot employs photography, film, video and sound to form a sustained enquiry into how we negotiate and construct our individual and collective identities. She puts the individual in the centre of the work. In this visually striking film, the artist worked closely with a recovery group in Liverpool, who take up roles in this semi-fictional film-within-a-film that explores addiction and mental health from multiple perspectives. It’s a tough process and emotionally charged scenes reveal inner truths, which gain additional power when the people playing the roles are, in some sense, playing themselves.
Exhibition is open weekly on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday. More information can be found here.
Melanie Manchot’s first foray into the world of addiction and recovery was through TWELVE (2015), a project commissioned by PORe. TWELVE is a major, multi-channel video installation that explored the intimate stories, rituals, repetitions and ruptures of lives spent in addiction and recovery. This seminal work took 5 years to produce – Manchot worked in dialogue with twelve people in recent recovery from substance misuse, in rehabilitation communities in Liverpool, Oxford and London. TWELVE is directly informed by their personal written and oral testimonies, creative conceptions, and performances within final works.
Manchot first met Stephen - the lead subject of her new feature film – through the commissioning of TWELVE all those years ago. Congratulations to them both, it's fantastic to see that their continued relationship has blossomed into such a powerful new work.
Listen more about TWELVE here.
Watch Manchot talk with Peckham Platform about the inspiration behind her ambitious film installation.
Header: Melanie Manchot, Twelve [The Bronson Monologue], multi channel video, 2015. Copyright courtesy of the artist.
Below [left to right]: Melanie Manchot, Twelve, multi channel video [various], 2015. Copyright courtesy of the artist.