Nathaniel Mellors’ most ambitious film to date opens at the Harris Museum, Preston

21 January 2016 By
Nathaniel Mellors, Ourhouse, Ep.-1: Time (film still), 2016. Courtesy the artist.
Nathaniel Mellors, Ourhouse, Ep.-1: Time (film still), 2016. Courtesy the artist.

Nathaniel Mellors, winner of the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award in 2014, will be unveiling his resultant film on 5 February 2016 at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery in Preston, as the centrepiece of the exhibition Nothing Happens, Twice: Artists Explore Absurdity (6 February – 4 June 2016).

The commission is the latest episode in Mellors’ ongoing Ourhouse body of work, an absurdist drama and conceptual artwork that uses the control of language as its core theme. The series features a wealthy family whose lives are destabilised by an occupying force called ‘The Object’. This force consumes the books in their house and subjects the family to fantastical events determined by the texts it has eaten.

Ourhouse, Ep.-1: Time (2016) is Mellors’ most ambitious film to date and takes place inside the ‘northern wing’ of the house, a Brutalist extension that uses Preston’s iconic bus station as its exterior façade. Populated by a tribe of smart Neanderthals and a filthy cluster of cannibalistic Homo sapiens, the film incorporates devices from prehistory as a means of exploring contemporary socio-economic and political issues, class, the objectification of the ‘other’ and our complex relationship with technology.

Mellors’ Ourhouse works have featured an array of British acting talent and Ourhouse, Ep.-1: Time (2016) features Richard Bremmer, Johnny Vivash, Patrick Kennedy, David Birkin, Brian Catling, Benedict Hopper, Laura Dee Milnes, Honeysuckle Weeks, Adam Gillen, Christos Lawton, Daniel Hoffmann-Gill, Rachel Bostock, Dave Hughes and Josh Rea alongside local actors and production crew.  The film was produced with the assistance of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan’s) Media Factory facility.

Nathaniel Mellors said:

“The Contemporary Art Society Annual Award is a great commission because it allows you to make something completely new. For me this is a unique opportunity to consolidate recent developments in my work and pull out some deeper weirdness, both with my amazing collaborators and through the extraordinary locations in and around Preston.”

Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society, said:

“We are proud to see this highly ambitious commission completed as a result of the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award. Preston and the Harris Museum have proven to be not only great collaborators but stars of this new work. It is the purpose of the Contemporary Art Society to see important works by internationally recognised young artists enter the great public collections in the UK. Our congratulations to Nathaniel Mellors, and to curator Clarissa Corfe for bringing this about.”

Cllr Veronica Afrin, Cabinet Member for Culture & Leisure Services; Preston City Council, said:

“Winning the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award was a great moment for Preston and we are delighted to be showing Nathaniel’s new commission as part of a wider exhibition featuring both established international artists and emerging local talent. The exhibition, and the award, will help to cement Preston’s growing reputation as a centre for high quality cultural activity.”

Ourhouse, Ep.-1: Time (2016) will be seen in the exhibition Nothing Happens, Twice: Artists Explore Absurdity, alongside the work of both established and emerging artists exploring ideas of farce, tragi-comedy and repetition, with the Theatre of the Absurd as a starting point. Other artists featured include Samuel Beckett, John Bock, Mel Brimfield, Broomberg & Chanarin, Pat Flynn, Steph Fletcher, Willum Geerts, Hilde Krohn Huse, Pierrick Sorin, Mladen Stilinovic and Bedwyr Williams.  It is curated by Clarissa Corfe.

The exhibition is free and runs from 6 February to 4 June 2016.  It is open Monday 11.00-17.00, Tuesday – Saturday, 10.00-17.00 and closed on Bank Holidays.  On Tuesday 9 February and Wednesday 9 March the exhibition will open at 12.30.


For more press information and images please contact:

Marcus Crofton, Communications Manager, Contemporary Art Society
+44 (0)20 7017 8412

Joan Fussell, Audience Development Officer, Harris Museum & Art Gallery

+44 (0)1772 905427

Hilary Machell, Interim Museum Manager, Harris Museum & Art Gallery

+44 (0)1772 903 619