David Bethell: Fleeting Flights at HOME

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
David Bethell: Fleeting Flights at HOME, Manchester
Glen Stoker

David Bethell: Fleeting Flights at HOME Manchester, Manchester 26 January — 17 March 2019 Entrance is free

Filmed over the course of two freezing cold nights in a forest outside of Stoke, David Bethell’s enigmatic film, ‘Fleeting Flights’ (2019), follows a man’s attempt to escape his own self-induced purgatory by building a wooden balloon. The piece will make its debut later this month as part of the Staffordshire-based artist’s solo-exhibition at HOME (Manchester), leaving the exact nature of the character’s purgatory or why he is trapped within it a mystery for now. And well may it remain so, given the sense of abstract futility that often characterises Bethell’s work. Open-ended narratives that evade neat explanation are perhaps something that we need more of at the moment.

Occupying an isolated, candle-lit cabin and engaged in acts of physically-demanding manual labour, the film’s protagonist seems out-of-step with our contemporary present, though not obviously belonging to any particular past either. The dream of escape might well resonate with many across the ages, while the folly of his efforts could easily connect with the abundance of senseless productivity that characterises much of life today.

As well as marking the artist’s first venture into film, the exhibition also brings together many of the other carefully-crafted wooden contraptions that have thread throughout Bethell’s practice to date and featured in performances that no one has seen. These performances test each object to its material limit or point of inevitable failure, after which wooden panels begin to crack and splinter; the detritus becoming the basis for new objects – maybe signalling hope and rejuvenation, or equally Kafkaesque repetition.

Each of the artist’s works engage with the history and topology of the place in which they occur, and it will be interesting to see how this dimension of his practice translates into moving image. As the culmination of his most ambitious project to date, Fleeting Flights represents an important point in Bethell’s career and should provide a playfully sibylline experience for visitors.

Curated by Mark Devereux Projects and Bren O’Callaghan.

David Bethell: Fleeting Flights at HOME Manchester, Manchester 26 January — 17 March 2019 Entrance is free

What's on at HOME Manchester

Where to go near David Bethell: Fleeting Flights at HOME

Manchester
Restaurant
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Indian Tiffin Room is a restaurant specialising in Indian street food, with branches in Cheadle and Manchester. This is the information for the Manchester venue.

The Ritz Manchester live music venue
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The Ritz

The Ritz was originally a dance hall, built in 1928, has hosted The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and The Smiths and is still going strong as a gig venue now.

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Homeground is HOME’s brand new outdoor venue, providing an open-air space for theatre, food, film, music, comedy and more.

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Small but perfectly-formed café – which also serves as the in-house bookstore, stocking all manner of Burgess-related works, along with recordings of his music. It’s a welcoming space, with huge glass windows making for a bright, welcoming atmosphere.

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This huge three-floor pub, formerly a Victorian warehouse, then an umbrella factory (hence the name), has one of the city centre’s largest beer gardens. The two-tier terrace overlooks the Rochdale canal and what used to be the back of the Hacienda, providing an unusual, historic view of the city.

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The Briton’s Protection

Standing on the corner of a junction opposite The Bridgewater Hall, The Briton’s Protection is Manchester’s oldest pub. It has occupied the same spot since 1795, going under the equally patriotic name The Ancient Britain.

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