Nathaniel Mellors

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Nathaniel Mellors (born 1974, Doncaster, Yorkshire, England)[1] is an English artist and musician.[2]

Life and work[edit]

He studied at the University of Oxford's Ruskin Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, the Royal College of Art[3] and the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam.

Mellors makes installations "packed with ad hoc sculpture, psychedelic theatre and absurdist, satirical film".[4] Mellors' output includes installation, sculpture, film and video, music, performance, collage, painting, prints and critical writing.[5]

His work in the show Art Now: The Way in Which it Landed, curated by Ryan Gander at Tate Britain in 2008, was Thinking Rock Speaks, an empty speech bubble made of steel attached to a lump of alabaster.[6] Jonathan Griffin in Frieze magazine said that Mellors "gets the last laugh ... Sometimes there really is just nothing to say."[6]

In 2002 Mellors co-founded Junior Aspirin Records, a not-for-profit record label releasing music by artists in limited editions. Mellors plays bass in the art-rock group Skill 7 Stamina 12 with Dan Fox, Ashley Marlowe and Maaike Schoorel, and has also released music with Toilet, God in Hackney, Mysterius Horse and under his own name.[7]

In 2009 at the South London Gallery, he put on a one night stage version of his film, The Time Surgeon.[8] Jessica Lack in The Guardian described the variety of styles and genres in his films, "skimming off a wide range of artistic references from prog rock to hit TV series The Prisoner, with which he creates brilliantly offbeat installations".[8]

He was represented in the Tate Trienniel 2009, Altermodern, by a work Giantbum 2009, based on a story written by him about a party of medieval explorers who lose their way in the body of a giant.[1] The work used film and animatronic heads.[9] Adrian Searle in The Guardian said:

There is a lot of bad acting and declaiming, a succession of dreadful puns, gags about a time-travelling Doctor Poo and Father Shit-mass, and some mock golden showers. Imagine the 120 Days of Sodom redone as panto.[9]

The work was also exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and a variant of it at Centro Cultural Montehermoso in Vitoria-Gasteiz.[3]

In summer 2009, Mellors was commissioned by the BBC to make a short "work of modern art" to introduce the final episode of the cultural history series The Seven Ages of Britain, presented by David Dimbleby and directed by Jonty Claypole. The resultant work The Seven Ages of Britain Teaser featured Dimbleby voicing a silicon mask cast from his own face, alongside actors Gwendoline Christie (as 'The Operator') and Johnny Vivash (as 'Kadmus'). The work was broadcast on BBC One on 21 March 2010.[10]

In 2011, Ourhouse, Mellors' first major solo exhibition in a UK public institution, was presented at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London.[11] The exhibition included a three-part video installation alongside animatronic sculptures featuring characters from the films.

Mellors is represented by The Box, Los Angeles, [12] Los Angeles, Monitor Video & Contemporary Art,[13] Rome, Stigter van Doesburg, Amsterdam & Matt's Gallery, London.

He lives and works in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, London & Yorkshire, UK.

In September 2011, Mellors selected a playlist of music that inspires him in his work. "Music was my way into art school. I was involved in music from my very early teens – tape collage and improvising with a microphone and an analogue delay pedal with friends. We had no technical ability at all. It was great! The experience of improvising with sound has been a handy touchstone ever since in terms of approaching art making.[14] His playlist includes Sonny Sharrock, GZA, Country Teasers and The Notorious B.I.G.

In 2013, Mellors completed a residency with the Hammer Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, culminating in a 35mm short film titled The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview.[15] The film toured to Dublin's Temple Bar Gallery in 2014.[16]

Mellors was nominated for the Jarman Award in 2012[17] and was the recipient of the Cobra Art Prize in 2011[18] and the Contemporary Art Society annual award in 2014. Presented by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed, the £40,000 award goes towards creating a film forming the centrepiece of a 15 month exhibition on the themes of Samuel Beckett and The Theatre of the Absurd.[19]


  • 2018 "Progressive Rocks", New Museum, New York[20]
  • 2017 "The Aalto Natives (with Erkka Nissinen)", Finland Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2017[21]
  • 2016 "Prequel Dump", The Box, Los Angeles[22]
  • 2014 "NEW_CAVE_ART_NOW", Stigter van Doesburg, Amsterdam[23]
  • 2014 "The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview", Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw[24]
  • 2014 "The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview", Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin[16]
  • 2014 "Nathaniel Mellors – The Sophisticated Neanderthal", art:concept, Paris[25]
  • 2014 "INTRUSION#1, Nathaniel Mellors – Ourhouse Episodes 1&2". The View, Switzerland
  • 2014 "Nathaniel Mellors", Hammer Museum, Los Angeles[26]
  • 2013 "Nathaniel Mellors – Ourhouse", Galway Arts Centre, Ireland
  • 2013 Nathaniel Mellors & Jimmy Joe Roche, Baltimore Museum of Art[27] (2-person show)
  • 2012 Recent Collaborations Before THE SAPROPHAGE, MONITOR, Rome[28]
  • 2012 "Ourhouse Episode 3, 'The Cure of Folly'", Malmö Konsthall, Sweden[29]
  • 2012 "Ourhouse E3 feat. BAD COPY", Salle de Bains, Lyon[30]
  • 2012 Ourhouse E3 feat. BAD COPY, Matt's Gallery, London[31]
  • 2011 The Nest, Cobra Museum, Amstelveen Cobra Museum Exhibitions (Dutch)
  • 2011 Artist's Statement Series: Nathaniel Mellors & Chris Bloor – :HYPERCOLON:, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam[32]
  • 2011 Nathaniel Mellors: Ourhouse, I.C.A., London[33]
  • 2010 Ourhouse, De Hallen, Haarlem[3]
  • 2009 Giantbum, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam[34]
  • 2009 Giantbum, Monterhermoso, Vitoria, Spain[3]
  • 2009 Giantbum, Lombard-Freid Projects, New York
  • 2009 The Time Surgeon, South London Gallery[8]
  • 2006 Hateball, Alison Jacques, London
  • 2005 Hateball, The Collective, Edinburgh
  • 2004 Profondo Viola, Matt's Gallery, London
  • 2001 Black Gold, Matt's Gallery, London
  • 2012 "Radical Languages", Cricoteka, Kraków[35]
  • 2011 ILLUMInations, 54th Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy[36]
  • 2011 "Un'Expressione Geografica", Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin[37]
  • 2010 British Art Show 7 – In The Days of The Comet, Hayward Gallery, London & UK touring
  • 2009 Altermodern, Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London[1]
  • 2009 Contour 2009, Mechelen, Belgium
  • 2008 Art Now, Tate Britain, London[6]
  • Deep Screen, Stedelijk Museum CS, Amsterdam

Music projects[edit]

  • 1989 The New Sharp (with Simon Johns)
  • 1990 – 1991 Autobutcher (with Simon Johns, Chris Barter, Ashley Marlowe and Grant Newman)
  • 1991 – 1993 Corridor (with Chris Barter, Ashley Marlowe and Grant Newman)
  • 1992 – 1999 Conemelt (with Ashley Marlowe and Grant Newman)
  • 2002 Prince Lightning
  • 2002 – present Junior Aspirin Records
  • 2002 – 2007 Skill 7 Stamina 12 (with Dan Fox, Ashley Marlowe and Maaike Schoorel)
  • 2003 – present God in Hackney (with Andy Cooke, Dan Fox and Ashley Marlowe)
  • 2006 Mysterius Horse (with Dan Fox)
  • 2008 – present Advanced Sportswear (with Dan Fox and Ashley Marlowe)


  • Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.[3]
  • De Hallen, Haarlem.[3]
  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
  • FRAC Occitanie Montpellier.
  • Tate.[38]
  • Preston Harris Museum.
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.


  1. ^ a b c Altermodern Tate Triennial. Explore: Participants, Tate. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  2. ^ O'Reilly, Sally. "Nathaniel Mellors: Monograph", Frieze, February 2005. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Nathaniel Mellors—Ourhouse", De Hallen. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  4. ^ Dan Fox, Statement for Lyon Biennial, Lyon Biennial, 2007, eds Stephanie Moisdon & Hans Ulrich Obrist, JRP-Ringier 2007.
  5. ^ Nathaniel Mellors, 'Country Teasers – The Empire Strikes Back', frieze magazine, 2006
  6. ^ a b c Griffin, Jonathan. "The way in which it landed", Frieze, 1 August 2008. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  7. ^ The track 'Moondoghuis' pressed on a 1-sided 7" single and included in the publication 'Profondo Viola', Matt's Gallery, London, 2004.
  8. ^ a b c Lack, Jessica. "Exhibition preview: Nathaniel Mellors/Superflex, London", The Guardian, 3 January 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  9. ^ a b Searle, Adrian. "Altermodern review: 'The richest and most generous Tate Triennial yet' ", The Guardian, 3 February 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  10. ^ "BBC One - Seven Ages of Britain, Age of Ambition, David Dimbleby becomes a work of art". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  11. ^ "Nathaniel Mellors: Ourhouse | Institute of Contemporary Arts". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  12. ^ "The Box". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  13. ^ "Monitor". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  14. ^ "Nathaniel Mellors chooses music that inspires him in his work", September 2011.
  15. ^ "Nathaniel Mellors | The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview (2013) | Artsy". 2015-02-03. Archived from the original on 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  16. ^ a b "The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview | Nathaniel Mellors :: Temple Bar Gallery + Studios :: Dublin Ireland". 2014-11-01. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  17. ^ "Film London". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  18. ^ "Frieze Magazine | Shows | Nathaniel Mellors". 2012-01-22. Archived from the original on 2012-01-22. Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  19. ^ "Nathaniel Mellors Wins the £40,000 Contemporary Art Society Annual Award 2014". Contemporary Art Society. 2014-11-25. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  20. ^ "New Museum". 2018-01-06. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  21. ^ "The Aalto Natives". 2018-01-06. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  22. ^ "The BOX Gallery". 2016-04-16. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  23. ^ "New_Cave_Art_Now". Stigter van Doesburg. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  24. ^ "Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  25. ^ "Nathaniel Mellors "The Sophisticated Neanderthal" at Galerie Art:Concept, Paris - Mousse MagazineMousse Magazine". 2014-03-15. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  26. ^ "Hammer Projects: Nathaniel Mellors - Hammer Museum". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^ "Nathaniel Mellors - Monitor". 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  29. ^ "Malmö Konsthall". 2012-12-16. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  30. ^ "La Salle de bains – Just another WordPress site". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  31. ^ "Matt's Gallery". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  32. ^ "SMART Project Space". SMART Project Space. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  33. ^ "Institute of Contemporary Arts : Exhibitions : Nathaniel Mellors: Ourhouse". 2011-06-12. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  34. ^ "Nathaniel Mellors—Giantbum", Stedelijk Museum. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  35. ^ "Radical Languages | Cricoteka". 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  36. ^ "La Biennale di Venezia - Artists". 2012-06-08. Archived from the original on 2012-06-08. Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  37. ^ "Frieze Magazine | Archive | Archive | Un'Espressione Geografica". 2011-10-04. Archived from the original on 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  38. ^ "Nathaniel Mellors", Tate. Retrieved 19 February 2010.

External links[edit]