Ruskin Alumnus Nathaniel Mellors at the Venice Biennale

Last edited on Friday, May 12, 2017 - 11:22 AM by Lucy Till-Awny

Nathaniel Mellors, who graduated from the Ruskin in 1999, is working with Erkka Nissinen, to present their first collaboration, 'The Aalto Natives', in the Finnish Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen, The Aalto Natives, 2017, production image Photograph: courtesy Frame Contemporary Art Finland

Artnet has selected the Finnish Pavilion as one of the top five at this year's Venice Biennale.

From the Frame press release: 

"Individually known for their irreverent and often comedic story-driven work, in which a humorous approach deceivingly belies a profound inquiry into contemporary issues of morality and power, Mellors and Nissinen will focus on various clichés surrounding Finnish history and national identity in The Aalto Natives.

"The installation will be conceived for the architectural and ideological context of the Finnish Pavilion, designed by architect Alvar Aalto in 1956. Conflating ideas and tropes from archaeology, anthropology and science fiction, it will re-imagine Finnish society.

“'The Aalto Natives explores themes such as the invention of national identity and the origins of culture by way of absurdist satire. Dressing its intellectual ambitions in purposefully silly gear, it both addresses the complex challenges our globalized world faces today, and pokes a cheeky kind of fun at the political correctness of its discourse,' says curator Xander Karskens.

"In The Aalto Natives, the artists, who share an interest in the capacity of absurdism and transgression to critique power structures and the status quo, bring together Nissinen’s intuitive, do-it-yourself attitude to image production and his penchant for naïve musicality, with Mellors’ writing-based approach to filmmaking, and integration of sculpture."

Nathaniel Mellor, Photo Ricky Adam, courtesy Frame Contemporary Art Finland