The Art House Presents New Work By Artist Sean Burn

The Art House, in partnership with Mental Health Museum,  present new, ground-breaking work by artist, writer and performer Sean Burn, now working under the name gobscure.

With an international reputation and active involvement in disability arts, gobscure’s work challenges institutional narratives of psychiatry, encouraging debate about how we talk with each other about mental health and mental distress.

Selected to take part in The Art House Change Makers residency programme, running throughout 2017, gobscure has been making work in response to the new manifesto at the Mental Health Museum, Fieldhead Hospital, which aims to ‘to explore mental health histories to help forge a sustainable future where people can live fulfilling lives in their communities’. An exhibition of work produced during his residency, from April to September this year, will open with a specially commissioned performance as part of Artwalk Wakefield on 27 September 2017.

The residency was launched in April 2017 with a performance of gobscure’s live art work, with added nuts, followed by a day-long collaborative workshop with artists and writers who have lived experience of mental distress. Visits to Merchant Gate, the site of the former West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum (now luxury housing) and the Mental Health Museum were accompanied by gobscure’s own site-responsive performances. Participating artists were invited to develop new ideas throughout the day, with the opportunity to show the resulting work as part of gobscure’s forthcoming exhibition, nudging meteors, at The Art House in September.

From his research into objects at the Mental Health Museum and buildings at the former Stanley Royd Hospital, gobscure is developing work that explores the architectural structures used to contain patients within psychiatric institutions. In his new film, acheologies, gobscure responds to a 1930s padded cell on display at the Mental Health Museum, one of only a few padded cells that remain intact in the UK today. Exploring tensions between protection, oppression and freedom in historical and contemporary psychiatric care. acheologies will be shown at The Art House alongside works that challenge everyday attitudes towards mental distress and the systems of surveillance and control that surround us.

Cara Sutherland, of the Mental Health Museum, comments:

“Sean has an energy in his practice that is both sensitive and exuberant. It’s a wonderful mixture that challenges art and the written word, and draws on the humour, poignancy and complexity of mental wellbeing. Collaborating with Sean on his residency has ignited further discussions at the MHM about the systems and perceptions that are at the heart of societal judgements.”

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