8 September – 31 October 2004
Since September 1979, Matt's Gallery has been inviting artists to make work for the space in which it is to be exhibited. Nathaniel Mellors produced Black Gold at Matt's Gallery in 2001; a cavernous lounge containing eight different takes on TV formats, from nature programme and game show, to serial-killer documentary. Profondo Viola (Deep Purple) extends Nathaniel Mellors' interest in mainstream entertainment, mediation and immersion, and more specifically entertainment in relation to gallery-based art.
Profondo Viola is a cluster of humorous and satirical 16mm film, video and sound works, sculptures, props and lighting effects. Writing and editing his own music and scripts, Mellors has constructed and processed his own artwork and draws on the work of others, such as critical entertainers Jean Luc Goddard, Spike Milligan, Wyndham Lewis and Throbbing Gristle. All of his films have original, coherent and structured plots at their core that gradually disintegrate and unravel over time. Real and fictional characters wrestle with language and environments that are slowly breaking down. There are several characters that drive the work, including a 'man' that investigates the progressive rock genre as a cover for political evil ('Lab 75'). In ‘Swiss Village’ – a socio-political manifesto against global politics set inside a local supermarket – an unknown voice makes a series of increasingly absurdist declarations repeated to the point of destruction by a beautiful foreign female subject. In parallel to the film works, an equivalent process of erosion and disintegration takes place within the music and other visual structures of the exhibition.
A swimming pool, fantasy grotto and other seductive objects invite the opportunity for meditation and retreat from the cacophony of noise. Pools and caves are familiar sculptural devices in film and theatre symbolising solace and escape. These props also have negative connotations as sites for death, horror and destruction. Within a gallery/ studio environment, these sculptures are able to function on a number of levels, as immersive spaces able to suspend disbelief, as formalist sculptures up for artistic scrutiny, and as abstract containers. 'The Maggot' - a sculpture 'eaten from within', pinpoints the part vicious, part humorous and disruptive world of Profondo Viola.