The fantastical and wryly comical videos, sculptures, and installations by Los Angeles– and Amsterdam-based artist Nathaniel Mellors (b. 1974, Doncaster, UK) employ absurdist satire to incisively critique morality, national identity, religion, and power structures in contemporary society.
Conflating narrative tropes and methods from television sitcoms, theater, science fiction, mythology, and anthropology, Mellors writes the scripts for each of his projects, which he also directs, edits, and produces. His raucous films feature a book-eating creature named “The Object” who literally digests a family’s library in Ourhouse (2010–ongoing); a Neanderthal in perpetual free-fall over the San Joaquin Valley in Neanderthal Container, (2014); and two messianic beings, in the form of a cardboard box and a giant egg, who attempt to make sense of a culture that they created millions of years prior in The Aalto Natives (2017, in collaboration with Erkka Nissinen, originally conceived for the Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale). For his exhibition at the New Museum, Mellors will create a new environment including video projection and animatronic sculpture.