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Boiler Room Lecture: Nathaniel Mellors


Nathaniel Mellors

Nathaniel Mellors
Thursday 23 October 2014, 6.00-7.30PM
The Wheeler Centre, State Library of Victoria
176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne

FREE event, however bookings essential or ph. 03 9905 4217

MUMA, in association with Monash Art, Design and Architecture [MADA], present a keynote lecture by LA-based, British artist Nathaniel Mellors.

The lecture will be introduced by Associate Professor Kit Wise, Associate Dean (Education), Monash Art Design and Architecture, Monash University and followed by a discussion with the artist convened by Simon Maidment, Curator, Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Victoria.

Nathaniel Mellors makes irreverent, humourous and absurd filmic works, sculptures, performances and critical writings that challenge our notions of taste, morality, and intelligence. His seminal series Ourhouse (2010- ongoing) is a six part film project (written and directed by Mellors) following the structure of a standard television drama and loosely based on Pier Paolo Pasolini's Teorema (1968). Ourhouse features a cast of misfit characters enacting the decline of an eccentric British family as they are confronted by ‘The Object' - an unexpected manifestation who invades their country manor. Drawing inspiration from popular icons of cinema and theatre, Ourhouse hybridises aspects of British sitcoms, absurdist theatre and science fiction, while making pointed observations about language, cultural appropriation and power structures.

Mellors' newly completed film The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview (2013/14) features an interview between a ‘modern' man (Truson, a character from Ourhouse) and an apparently genuine Neanderthal set in ‘E-den'. Filming took place in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, in proximity to The Bronson Caves; 20th Century man-made caves used as filming location for numerous Hollywood films, including the setting for Batman's ‘Bat Cave'. The film sees the eponymous Neanderthal of the film exiled from ‘E-Den' by ‘The Sporgo,'an organisation which he claims owns and controls all cave art. The Neanderthal, obviously more sophisticated than Truson - plays with his interviewer and his expectations of primitivism. The work draws on the emergence of art as a marker of human consciousness and the idea that art and religion are hard-wired into the architecture of the human brain.

For this lecture Mellors will introduce his multidisciplinary and collaborative practice and discuss recurrent themes in his work including the manipulative qualities of language and the relation between words and reality.

Nathaniel Mellors was born in Doncaster, England in 1974 and currently lives and works in Amsterdam and Los Angeles. He studied at the Royal College of Art, London and the Ruskin School, Oxford University. Recent solo exhibitions include: Hammer Projects: Nathaniel Mellors, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); Recent collaborations before THE SAPROPHAGE, Monitor, Rome (2012); Nathaniel Mellors: The Nest, Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, The Netherlands (2011); Performa 2011, New York; Nathaniel Mellors: Ourhouse, ICA, London (2011); and Ourhouse, De Hallen, Haarlem (2010). Mellors has been featured in several important group exhibitions including:  Taipei Biennal 2014, Taiwan; British Art Show 7: In The Days of the Comet (2011); La Biennale di Venezia - 54th International Art Exhibition - ILLUMinations, Venice, Italy (2011) and Altermodern, Tate Triennial 2009, Tate Britain, London. Mellors is the co-founder of independent record label Junior Aspirin Records. He is represented by Matt's Gallery, London; Monitor, Rome and Stigter van Doesburg, Amsterdam. Mellors is currently undertaking a residency at Monash Art Design and Architecture, Monash University, Caulfield.

Image: Nathaniel Mellors 2013/14, The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview, 23 min., 35mm film trans. to HD video (still). Image courtesy the artist and Matt's Gallery, London; Monitor, Rome and Stigter van Doesburg, Amsterdam

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