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Lindsey Mendick: Where The Bodies Are Buried

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Lindsey Mendick’s solo exhibition transforms The Weston Gallery, taking the form of a multi-media installation that investigates dreams, Gothic stories, television and cultural experiences from the 1990s. Bringing the artist’s recurring anxiety dream to life, Where The Bodies Are Buried takes the form of a decaying house with dark secrets beneath the floorboards.

Works include ceramics and stained glass emerging from the floor as hands, feet and limbs, with a film playing across several screens creating a chorus for simultaneous viewing. Anxiety dreams have long inspired artists and writers, ranging from Eve’s prophetic dream about eating the forbidden fruit in Paradise Lost, to Surrealist paintings and sculpture depicting hauntings and dream-states. The phrase ‘where the bodies are buried’ means to possess information or secrets about a person or organisation. In Mendick’s installation, the secrets are both literal and metaphorical, the buried bodies signifying her fear of being ‘found out’ and misdeeds of the past being unearthed.

The installation references the popular 1990s UK soap opera Brookside, in which abusive husband and father Trevor Jordache was stabbed to death by his wife Mandy in 1993. Mandy buried his body under the patio, assisted by their daughter Beth who was played by Anna Friel. In a storyline watched and discussed by millions, the body was eventually discovered in 1995 and Mandy and Beth were charged and imprisoned. Mendick reflects on this plot-line and the simultaneous, communal television viewing and shared cultural experience of 1990s soaps. Her work mirrors the tensions, crescendo and drama of years-long narratives, in contrast to contemporary on-demand viewing culture. Mendick also draws on Edgar Allan Poe’s 1843 short story The Tell-Tale Heart in which a murderer is plagued by the sound of a heartbeat. He assumes it is that of his victim buried below the floorboards, but the sound is likely the narrator’s own heart betraying him. The story is a powerful reflection on paranoia and guilt, driven by the pounding heartbeat as a rhythmic compulsion to confess.

Thursday 6 April - Sunday 3 September 2023

Yorkshire Sculpture Park
West Bretton
Wakefield
WF4 4LG

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