Reading time: 3 minutes
The Box, Los Angeles, California, USA
February 27, 2016 – April 9, 2016
****Notes from the Perma-Present****
Prequel Dump is Nathaniel Mellors’ first solo exhibition at The Box. The installation combines the video works Ourhouse (2010-16), Neanderthal Container (2014) and Giantbum (2008) with the vomiting animatronic sculpture The Object (2010), new sculptures, photograms & paintings.
***BROWN REASONS TO LIVE***
Mellors’ epic scatological fantasies are full of wry-humour and big themes: language, technology, art, ownership, cavemen, cannibalism & excrement.
**Object eats Subject**
Ourhouse (2010 – ) Conceptual sculpture meets British TV drama. 5 episodes.
The eccentric Maddox-Wilson family’s lives are destabilized when their house (‘Ourhouse’) is occupied by The Object (Brian Catling), whom the family fail to recognise as a human-being, each perceiving a different form in its place. The Object yields strange power over words and begins to eat the family’s books; processing their story inside its guts. Each episode of the series is determined by the texts The Object consumes, half-digests and sicks-back-up.
“All my toilets are made with Aztec porcelain and will have a brutalist trim.”
Ourhouse Episode -1: Time (2015-16)
The family have inhabited the northern wing of Ourhouse with holidays in mind but lose one of their group to a pair of passing Neanderthals after Charles ‘Daddy’ Maddox-Wilson (Richard Bremmer) announces his imminent celebrity. The Object is consuming The Eternal Present – a book covering 35,000 years of European cave-art. Meanwhile Ourhouse has become inundated with surveillance technology through the expansion and rise to power of a gentleman-criminal called Davis (Patrick Kennedy), a plumber hired by the family in 1999 to “do the pipes” who has evolved into…something else. Charles has invented a revolutionary new theory of time – but Davis, one step ahead, has invented a time-travelling toilet – the ‘T.T.T.’. Charles’ subsequent attempts at time-travel go awry as the family find themselves duped, cannibalised and trapped inside a permanent-present…
*Bird-headed man with a stiffy*
In Neanderthal Container (2014) a Neanderthalised stunt-dummy falls from a plane over the San Joaquin Valley, crashing to earth over and over again. Mellors conceived of the falling figure as depicting an ‘absolute exterior’ and these falling sequences are punctuated by more fragmentary and improvised sequences representing the Neanderthal’s interior – a film-set populated by four different versions of the Neanderthal character (all played by Patrick Kennedy) who reflect on their condition and position “inside the Neanderthal stunt-dummy…which is actually a spaceship.”
“If you eat yourself, eat yourself…do you shit yourself?”
Giantbum – Stages 1 & 2 (2008)
It’s 1213 AD. Sir Boss (Gwendoline Christie), The Truthcurator (David Birkin) & their crypto-medieval phalanx have been accidentally eaten by a Giant and need to avoid starvation and digestion and find THE EXIT. But “there is no outside!” The group are (mis)led by their religious leader The Father (Johnny Vivash) – a kind of poo-crazed medieval spin doctor, who has achieved an idiosyncratic form of immortality through cannibalism and coprophagia. From scatology to eschatology, Giantbum is a pious critique of cultural reenactment, recycling, re-staging & re-ligion.
Chris Bloor & Nathaniel Mellors: The Dinosaur Moderne (2015 – ∞)
New collaborative paintings by Bloor & Mellors –
Prehistory as a lens for the present.
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio
Courtesy of the artist and The Box, Los Angeles