Estate is a new exhibition by Nathaniel Mellors bringing together works developed over the last decade and not previously exhibited in the UK. It features two clusters of film and video works, including Neanderthal Crucifixion (2021), Neanderthal Container (2014), and The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview (2013) – held aloft by 4-foot high puppets.
Mellors projects issues of class and ownership of knowledge and culture into his absurdist fictions, using the study of The Upper Palaeolithic as ‘a lens for the present’. He has described the Neanderthal as ‘the ultimate prehistoric other figure,’ observing that the gap between the human and Neanderthal, which was considered to be absolute, has shrunk into negative space. The Neanderthal is now inside us genetically and is viewed in a significantly more positive light than when Mellors made The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview (2013), in part as a parody of class-based assumptions around cultural knowledge.
In his most recent work, Neanderthal Crucifixion (2021), the Neanderthal artist, locked-down in the cave, ruminates on its achievements in art and design and its relationship with the cave-owning power-structure ‘The Sporgo’. It experiences a crisis of the ego. The work was animated and performed by Mellors during lockdown.
Mellors has also been developing new works in an ongoing series of ‘BROW’ paintings (2022) which extend the neanderthal brow motif into absurdist figuration.
Estate also features a music video from The God In Hackney (Mellors’ group with Andy Cooke, Dan Fox and Ashley Marlowe) and a new solo 7″ single Life Becomes a Promo/Digital Worms issued as a special joint-edition between Matt’s Gallery and the artist’s Junior Aspirin Records.