Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen
2 – 24 February 2019
‘A few years ago we had a damn-near perfect society here, and then a number our most aspirational children went away on a meditation camp and they came back emotionally and physically crippled. Infected by a Bad Mantra...’
Extract from Nathaniel Mellors & Erkka Nissinen’s The Aalto Natives, 2017.
This is Nathaniel Mellors’ fourth exhibition at Matt’s Gallery and the first solo presentation of his collaborative practice with Erkka Nissinen. The pair established their collaborative practice when they developed The Aalto Natives for the Finnish Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. It will continue alongside the artists' solo practices.
Bad Mantra draws its title from an episode in The Aalto Natives, a darkly humorous take on Finnish identity, creation myths and nationalism. From that installation has grown a body of work that extends and develops its narratives. Within the broader context of the work, 'Transcendental Accidents' parody avant-garde performance and liberal cultural entitlement - as one experimental dancer pleads to the lead character, Atum: "I should be at a university, instead I'm forced to wander the countryside performing modern dance to ease my pain..."
At the centre of the installation is a one-puppet band, jamming a programmed improvisation created by the artists for the space. The installation develops Mellors' long-standing interest in animatronics, combining kinetic sculpture with music and sound. The work, shown at Kiasma as part of the pair’s exhibition The Aalto Natives in 2018, will be reconfigured in response to Matt’s Gallery’s 3x3x3 metre cubic space.
Matt’s Gallery thanks the Arts Council England and Ron Henocq Fine Art for their on-going support. Bad Mantra is generously supported by Frame Contemporary Art Finland.