Celebration (Cyprus Street) continues and, at the same time, highlights a series of works where Melanie Manchot deals with documents containing historical photographic group portraits. For centuries, group portraits in painting and photography have functioned as representations of societal relationships and networks, in which the depicted urban settings are crucial in determining the contextualization of the things depicted. Manchot picks up on this principle in Celebration (Cyprus Street).
The camera sweeps almost casually across the scene, taking shots of the mixed crowd at the street party, which Manchot has organized in cooperation with the residents, giving the spectator the time to get an impression of the street's denizens. In this crowd, the houses remain façades. But for decades, these buildings simultaneously have been the existing backdrop for those who have moved within and without their walls. It's the houses that have created the true identity of the street. The glimpse into the microcosm of the street finally culminates in a group portrait for which the inhabitants come together on the street, little by little, raising their faces towards the camera. Thus composed, they remain still for some time surrounded by the sudden silence, and leave the camera to do its job of capturing them as a document of both their time and of their street. For the short duration of this portrait, they linger there in collective closeness. (Tasja Langebach)
Celebration (Cyprus Street) was commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and funded by Film London (Digital Archive Film Fund) and Arts Council England.
*We can only show an excerpt of this work in the online archive. For the complete version, please contact the artist and Galerie m, Bochum.