Our Artist To Watch for August is British artist, Nathaniel Mellors, recently shortlisted for the prestigious Jarman Award 2012 and a hot tip to represent the Netherlands at next year’s Venice Biennale. Mellors has attracted international critical interest in recent years for a highly idiosyncratic vision and inventive multi-media practice combining visual art, music, theatre and text. Working across large installations, episodic video works, record production and sculpture, all characterised by an absurdist and darkly satirical approach, Mellors explores relationships between language, power and humour.
Mellors’ on-going series Ourhouse is a video work in six parts which captures life in the fictional Maddox-Wilson home, with an eccentric cast of characters. The narrative of each episode is determined by The Object – a white haired and white suited man whom the inhabitants do not recognise as human. The Object eats and regurgitates pages from books in the family’s library and the content of these pages informs and creates the plot for each episode, while also controlling the language used in the house. The Monthy Python-esque plots of each episode can seem familiar to those found in mainstream television sitcoms, but instead of trying to make the audience laugh Mellors unpicks the familiar comedic methods these programmes rely on. These works intentionally defy easy categorisation and straightforward interpretations, in favour of intrigue, obfuscation and absurdity. Episodes from Ourhouse are frequently shown as part of much larger sculptural installations, with the screens housed within shapeless, makeshift constructions and alongside animatronic sculptures. Mellors has also created other sculptural works which derive from the characters in his video works, blurring the separation between depicted narrative, sculpture and reality.
Nathaniel Mellors (born 1974, England) lives and works in Amsterdam and London. Recent solo exhibitions include Ourhouse E3 feat. Bad Copy, Matt’s Gallery, London (2012), Nathaniel Mellors – The Nest, Cobra Museum, Amstelveen (2011) and Nathaniel Mellors: Our House, ICA, London (2011). Mellors was one of the participating artists in Performa Biennial 2011, Greene Room, New York (2011) The British Art Show 7, touring, UK (2010 – 2011), ILLUMInations, 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale (2011), Narrative Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2011) and Altermodern, Tate Triennial 2009, Tate Britain, London (2009). Mellors is represented in London by Matt’s Gallery.