Nathaniel Mellors

Nathaniel Mellors
Recent collaboration before THE SAPROPHAGE

Opening Friday November 30th | from 07.00 to 09.00 pm

(Italian text below)

Recent collaborations before THE SAPROPHAGE is an installation of new film, digital print and painting by Nathaniel Mellors, developed in collaboration with Gwendoline Christie and Chris Bloor. It will be Nathaniel’s 2nd exhibition at MONITOR.

The camera lens focuses on two figures in conversation. A blonde woman dressed in an outfit mid-way between the Avenging Angel and a salt-cellar, wearing a pair of strange protective glasses, is shouting from the Los Angeles hills. An equally unlikely character wearing an absurd mass of things including a panoply of Angry Birds merchandise and an oxygen mask answers back, shouting from a grotty East London back-yard. The two discuss their condition, describing a ‘cultural apocalypse’ of which they appear to be the survivors. They claim to be trapped in a “permanent present” in which any sense of history or possible future have been exorcised; a peculiarly decadent situation.

THE SAPROPHAGE (2012) was developed with Mellors’ long-term collaborators Gwendoline Christie, Johnny Vivash and David Birkin, in Los Angeles, East London and Greece, respectively. Christie plays ‘Shemihaza The Nephilim’, taking on an additional co-directorial role, while Johnny Vivash plays ‘Terry’. Both characters appear stupefied by the arrival of a third character: The Saprophage (David Birkin). A wholehearted tribute to Pasolini’s unrealised St Paul, The Saprophage is an innocent preacher who yearns to bring spirituality to the United States but who in Mellors’ version has an additional ‘ecological’ condition – he feeds on decomposing matter. Although ‘The Saprophage’ walks onto land at ‘St.Paul’s bay in Lindos, the filmed sequence suggests that all three characters in fact inhabit the same strange cultural landscape. Presented for the first time in Rome, THE SAPROPHAGE mixes the distinctly surreal and grotesque vein that has been a fundamental characteristic of Mellors’ approach with a newly liberated digital sensibility.

THE SAPROPHAGE is shot in three different locations, using only an iPhone camera and featuring a series of deliberate digital glitches and data-mashing processes. The narrative includes a docu-fiction style rewind back to Gwendoline Christie and Mellors in their LA studio, with Christie acutely critical of Mellors’ script and approach. Is this reality or performance? In The Saprophage Mellors’ folds his own past in on itself, recurrent themes and reflections on contemporary art are set up and taken-apart at remarkable speed, a compulsive richness emerging from a deliberately flat, absurdist premise.

For the first time the artist has incorporated and combined digital prints – made by replacing certain patterns of letters in the digital code of video stills from The Saprophage with specific thematic words pertinent to the script – with strange painting techniques involving spray-paint and stucco-plasterwork – this series SAPRO_DIGITALIS is produced in collaboration with artist Chris Bloor who Mellors has previously worked with on his Venus of Truson series of photograms (first exhibited at Illuminazioni at the Venice Biennale 2011) as well as the curation of :Hypercolon: at SMART Project Space, Amsterdam (2011) and The Nest at CoBrA Museum, Amstelveen (2011).

Until 26 January 2013

Nathaniel Mellors

Nathaniel Mellors (1974, lives and works between Amsterdam e Los Angeles)

Selected Solo Shows: Ourhouse, Episode 3 – The Cure of Folly, Malmö Konsthall, C-salen, Malmö, Ourhouse, Episode 3 feat. BAD COPY, Salle de Bains, Lyon, Ourhouse, Episode 3. BAD COPY, Matt’s Gallery, London, 1st Notes on Brown Humour – Nathaniel Mellors’ lecture for Frieze Magazine, Wide Open School, Hayward Lecture Theatre, Hayward Gallery, Southbank, London, 2012; Nathaniel Mellors, Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, :Hypercolon:, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam, Nathaniel Mellors – Ourhouse, I.C.A. London, 2011; Ourhouse, De Hallen, Haarlem, The 7 Ages of Britain Teaser, Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland, 2010; Giantbum, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam. Selected Group Shows: Panegyric, Forde, Geneva, Performa 2011, New York, La Biennale di Venezia – 54th International Art Exhibition – ILLUMinations, Venice,
Un’Espressione Geografica, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, 2011; British Art Show 7 – In The Days of the Comet, Hayward Gallery London & Touring; More Pricks Than Kicks, David Roberts Foundation, London,
Hey, We’re Closed! – Hayward Gallery, London, 2010; Altermodern, Tate Triennial 2009, Tate Britain, Contour 2009, 4th Biennial of Moving Image, Mechelen, Belgium
Art & Research 2008, Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz,
The History of a Decade That Has Not Yet Been Named, Biennale de Lyon 2007.


Nathaniel Mellors
Recent collaboration before THE SAPROPHAGE

Opening Friday November 30th | from 07.00 to 09.00 pm

Recent collaboration before THE SAPROPHAGE è il titolo della seconda mostra personale dell’artista inglese Nathaniel Mellors negli spazi di Monitor. Sviluppata in collaborazione con Gwendoline Christie e Chris Bloor, essa comprende un nuovo film, stampe digitali e dipinti.

In THE SAPROPHAGE l’obiettivo inquadra due figure impegnate in una conversazione. La donna bionda, vestita in una foggia che ricorda in parte una sorta di angelo vendicatore dagli strani occhiali protettivi, in parte una saliera, grida dalle colline di Los Angeles. Un altrettanto improbabile personaggio che indossa un assurdo ammasso di cose tra cui si riconoscono un costume da Angry Bird e una strana macchina per ossigeno, le risponde gridando a sua volta da un tipico brutto cortile dell’East London.

I due dissertano sulla loro condizione, invocando una “apocalisse culturale” di cui sembrano essere entrambi superstiti, relegati in una situazione di eterno presente in cui il passato e il futuro sembrano non esistere più. Gwendoline Christie – musa dell’artista dai tempi di Hateball, 2005 – qui ad interpretare il personaggio di Shemihaza e Johnny Vivash – nei panni di Terry, si mostrano alquanto stupefatti di essere interrotti dall’arrivo di un terzo personaggio: The Saprophage (David Birkin). Omaggio sincero a Pier Paolo Pasolini per il suo mai realizzato San Paolo, The Saprophage è un predicatore innocente che anela a portare la spiritualità negli Stati Uniti, a cui Mellors aggiunge un ulteriore “tocco” ecologico, facendo nutrire il personaggio esclusivamente di materia in decomposizione.

Pur essendo girato in tre location e momenti differenti (Los Angeles, l’East London e la Grecia) con l’ausilio della sola telecamera del dispositivo iPhone, passando dalla terraferma alla piccola spiaggia di Lindos nella baia di San Paolo, la sequenza narrativa del film suggerisce che tutti e tre i personaggi abitino lo stesso strano paesaggio culturale. La conclusione di THE SAPROPHAGE avviene con un rewind dal sapore docu-fiction in cui Gwendoline e Mellors, nel loro studio a Los Angeles, discutono sullo script del nuovo lavoro in modo estremamente critico, aggiungendo elementi e eliminandone altri e innescando nell’attonito spettatore la domanda: realtà o finzione?

Il nuovo corpo di opere presentato in anteprima a Roma, si caratterizza per la vena surreale e grottesca che da sempre costituisce uno degli aspetti fondamentali della ricerca dell’artista, in cui per la prima volta si aggiunge all’impiego della stampa digitale, l’uso di una particolare tecnica pittorica che vede impiegata vernice-spray, stucco e intonaco. La nuova serie di opere dal titolo SAPRO_DIGITALIS è stata realizzata in collaborazione con l’artista Chris Bloor con cui Mellors ha precedentemente collaborato per le Venus of Truson (serie di fotogrammi presentati ad Illuminazioni, Biennali di Venezia 2011) come per la curatela di: Hypercolon, Smart Project Space, Amsterdam (2011) e il progetto The Nest al CoBrA Museum, Amsterdam.

Fino al 26 Gennaio 2013

Nathaniel Mellors

Nathaniel Mellors (1974, vive e lavora tra Amsterdam e Los Angeles)

Selected Solo Shows: Ourhouse, Episode 3 – The Cure of Folly, Malmö Konsthall, C-salen, Malmö, Ourhouse, Episode 3 feat. BAD COPY, Salle de Bains, Lyon, Ourhouse, Episode 3. BAD COPY, Matt’s Gallery, London, 1st Notes on Brown Humour – Nathaniel Mellors’ lecture for Frieze Magazine, Wide Open School, Hayward Lecture Theatre, Hayward Gallery, Southbank, London, 2012; Nathaniel Mellors, Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, :Hypercolon:, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam, Nathaniel Mellors – Ourhouse, I.C.A. London, 2011; Ourhouse, De Hallen, Haarlem, The 7 Ages of Britain Teaser, Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland, 2010; Giantbum, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam. Selected Group Shows: Panegyric, Forde, Geneva, Performa 2011, New York, La Biennale di Venezia – 54th International Art Exhibition – ILLUMinations, Venice,
Un’Espressione Geografica, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, 2011; British Art Show 7 – In The Days of the Comet, Hayward Gallery London & Touring; More Pricks Than Kicks, David Roberts Foundation, London,
Hey, We’re Closed! – Hayward Gallery, London, 2010; Altermodern, Tate Triennial 2009, Tate Britain, Contour 2009, 4th Biennial of Moving Image, Mechelen, Belgium
Art & Research 2008, Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz,
The History of a Decade That Has Not Yet Been Named, Biennale de Lyon 2007.