Mike Kelley's Mobile Homestead Film Trilogy brings Detroit bankruptcy to London cinemas

By Jessica King | 01 November 2013

Exhibition preview: Mike Kelley - Mobile Homestead Film Trilogy, various venues, London, November 2-18 2013

A photo of a scantily-clad woman standing outside a suburban house in America
Mike Kelley, Streetwalker Sasha© Commissioned and produced by Artangel
Mike Kelley’s series of documentary-style films follow the late, influential American artist as he builds an exact replica of his childhood home - a 1950s suburban house in a Detroit suburb - mounts it onto a chassis and journeys from Detroit, along Michigan Avenue, to the site of the original Kelley home and back again.

Filmed during the lead up to Detroit’s declaration of bankruptcy, Kelley’s unique work allows an insight into that difficult period through interviews from people living and working in Detroit.

Bikers and prostitutes, church officials, heroin addicts and social workers paint a social picture of the city’s economic deficit.

The third and final film documents the opening launch at the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art, where the completed Mobile Homestead stands today.

The launch saw speeches and performances by local poets and musicians, captured with Kelley’s lifelong sense of sceptical realism.

As this was Kelley’s final work before his untimely death in 2012, the personal nature of the project is particularly significant.

Kelley’s individual journey and the metaphorical journey of Detroit’s socialism provide both a remarkable art piece and an exceptional historical documentation.

Artangel has generated some of the most talked-about and contentious art of recent times and Kelley’s work here is no exception.


What do you think? Leave a comment below.

More pictures:

A photo of a wide, grey house on grass under a blue sky within an American suburb
Accordian House exterior© Commissioned and produced by Artangel
A photo of a man in a shirt and tie handling vegetable produce within a supermarket
Westborn Market, Marvin© Commissioned and produced by Artangel
A photo of a boarded-up suburban shop with a cartoon drawn on one of its facades
Michigan Ave© Commissioned and produced by Artangel
A photo of a woman in a shawl selling dresses within a shop
Mecah Islamic Superstore interior© Commissioned and produced by Artangel
A photo of a burnt-out house within a run-down suburban American street
Crack house burned© Commissioned and produced by Artangel
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