Dean Kelland is a UK Based Artist who explores portraiture as a performative practice. His process follows an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates performance film, live performance techniques and photography as well as other media and methods. His doctoral thesis “Flawed Masculinities: "Rupturing" 1950s/60s/70s British Sitcom via a Performance-led Interdisciplinary Arts Practice” was supervised by Professor Roger Sabin and Reader Susan Trangmar at Central St Martins, and was successfully examined by Dr. Simon Grennan (University of Chester) and Professor Caroline Evans (Central St Martins).
In 1997 Dean graduated from the University of Wolverhampton with a First Class Honours Degree in Photography. Following a period of time successfully pursuing a career as a lecturer within art & design he consolidated his practical experiences by completing a Masters degree in Fine Art at Staffordshire University in 2006. Now employed as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton the practice based research that Dean has undertaken has recently had a more autobiographical approach to the inception of projects and has enabled him to return to the themes of comedy that were so prevalent in shaping him during his formative years.
Having shown work at a variety of locations throughout the UK, Dean has secured solo exhibitions at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham and was also commissioned to produce new work for the international video art exhibition alongside artists such as Gillian Wearing, Cornelia Parker and Beat Streuli for About Town in conjunction with Birmingham Hippodrome Plus and Ikon. He has also presented work on Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe and Son as part of the With Humorous Intent Symposium at the Mostyn Oriel Gallery in Llandudno and the annual British Comedy Conference at Manchester Metropolitan University. Dean has also been featured in Re-framing Photography and a recent edition of the Comedy Studies Journal.
Dean is now engaged in new work for forthcoming residencies that continues his interest in comedy and masculinity.
www.deankelland.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Falling Slowly is a performance-based artwork that addresses Slapstick Comedy. The work will seek to interrogate this comedy genre and challenge the audience to ask questions about the role of the comedian and the subsequent exchanges between audience and performer.
The proposal is for a multiple series of events derived from the artist performing a repeated ‘slapstick’ act in live situations. Once in ‘character’ the artist will perform the act to live audiences that is taken from, and embedded within, the history of slapstick (references such as Charlie Chaplin & Buster Keaton) yet is ruptured through the inadequacy and repetition of the performance. The audience reaction within this situation will help to shape the direction of the on-going performances and illuminate the role of pain in comedy and the culturally gendered stereotype of the flawed male within comedy.
This practice-based ERAS project has at its core three short films, made by and featuring the author (Dean Kelland), which take as their inspiration certain male characters from 20th century slapstick comedy performers. Those references are: Buster Keaton (1895-1966), Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) and Jerry Lewis (1926-2017).
The research is an investigation into the construction of masculine gender stereotypes, explored through a process of a performance-led visual arts practice that incorporates the use of interdisciplinary approaches. This interdisciplinarity is aligned to Lisa Lattuca’s definition of “informed disciplinarity” as being “informed by concepts or theories from another discipline or relying upon methods from other disciplines.” (History of Intellectual Culture, 2003). Disciplines and fields include: comedy studies, performance art studies, television studies, gender studies and cultural studies.
In my performance-led practice, I create scenarios that have emanated from the research, focusing on specific scenes from the routines (identified for their relevance to the research questions). I then re-purpose these scenes in order to show them in a new light, specifically by inhabiting the characters utilising traditional acting methodologies combined with performance art techniques. Each mimetic repetition exposes the blurring of one identity into another, and so interrogates the inter-subjective identifications between actor, projected character and audience, mobilized through “performing masculinity”. Drawing on my own memories, and the sense of nostalgia that has been created by my exposure to these (repeated) performances, I ask new questions about subjective experience within fine art practice (in other words, how the modes of such practice have been used to address the relationship between the body, the external world and self-representation). Often this involves “rupturing” the meaning of the performances, and revealing what might loosely be termed the horror beneath the comedy.
The resulting dialogue between historical source material and contemporary artwork creates a critical interrogation of culturally constructed gendered stereotypes within a specific entertainment genre. The research journey is carefully logged (sketchbooks, digital portfolio) and analysed (written thesis) in accordance with a reflective, practice-based, methodology.
UK based artist Dean Kelland explores portraiture as a performative practice. Working with performance, photography, film and appropriation his projects often propose constructed events or situations in public spaces that form engaging explorations into our collective cultural identities.
Born in 1973 in the Great Barr suburb of the second city, his formative years coincided with the “golden age” of the sit-com and an opportunity to view repeated episodes of comedies such as “The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin”, “Rising Damp” and “Porridge”. Birmingham reclaimed one of its comedy heroes in Tony Hancock and one of the region’s most celebrated comedy icons helped shape Dean’s experiences and at a relatively early age he developed an interest in British comedy.
In 1997 Dean graduated from the University of Wolverhampton with a First Class Honours Degree in Photography. Following a period of time successfully pursuing a career as a lecturer within art & design he consolidated his practical experiences by completing a Masters degree in Fine Art at Staffordshire University in 2006. Now employed as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton successfully completed his practice-led PhD study at Central St Martins under the supervisory guidance of Dr Roger Sabin (Director of Studies), Susan Trangmar (Reader) & Jane Gibb. It is within this research project that Dean undertook a more autobiographical approach to the inception of projects and has returned to the themes of comedy and a sense of location that were so prevalent in shaping him during his formative years.
Having shown work at a variety of locations throughout the UK, Dean recently secured a solo exhibition at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham and also presented “The Desperate Hours” as part of the With Humorous Intent Symposium at the
Mostyn Oriel Gallery in Llandudno. Dean has also been featured in Re-framing Photography and the latest edition of the Comedy Studies Journal.
Aims & objectives
To develop a body of work that addresses the construction of masculine identities with reference to comedy and pain.
Production of three performance films, one live performance, blog, sketchbooks and reflective journals.
Series of screening events to range of audiences.
Flatpack Festival 2017
“Floating Worlds” Exhibition at ArtBAB, Bahrain 2017