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Nathaniel Mellors Wins the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award 2014

Nathaniel Mellors, in partnership with the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, has won the £40,000 Contemporary Art Society Award 2014.

Nathaniel Mellors, in partnership with the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, has won the Contemporary Art Society Award 2014. Mellors will create a film that will form the centrepiece of a 15 month exhibition on the themes of Samuel Beckett and The Theatre of the Absurd.

The £40,000 prize, generously supported by the Sfumato Foundation, is one of the country’s highest value contemporary art awards and this year was presented by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed.
Mellors will be making a hybrid work of fiction, sculpture, performance and film, using the architecturally monumental, brutalist Preston Bus Station as its focus. The Bus Station has recently been Grade II listed and this, as well as the compact and architecturally diverse city centre of Preston, makes for an ideal film set.

His current practice and this film commission are part of Mellor’s ongoing Ourhouse body of works, produced by NOMAD, which has featured a panoply of British acting talent including Richard Bremmer (Control, Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone), Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Force Awakens),Patrick Kennedy (Atonement, Boardwalk Empire), David Birkin (Sylvia, Les Miserables) & Johnny Vivash (Perdition County, Vigilante) as well as local performers in supporting roles.

Nathaniel Mellors said:
"The support and faith in my work that this award represents is impossible to put a price on, particularly from such a strong shortlist. It is a unique opportunity to consolidate recent developments in my practice and pull out some deeper weirdness, both with my amazing collaborators and through the extraordinary locations in and around Preston."

"In a year with exceptionally strong applications for the Award, the Harris Museum proposal with Nathaniel Mellors was outstanding. Nathaniel Mellors’ work connects with a tradition of absurdist and satirical film making in Britain that includes such figures as Lindsay Anderson and Derek Jarman.  I am delighted that the Award will enable the production of a substantial new work within Mellors’ oeuvre, and one that links so directly to the city it will be made in."
- Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society

"Nathaniel Mellors is a prestigious and fascinating artist, and we are immensely proud to be working with him on this major commission. His unique imagination and approach to film making will enable him to draw on and re-imagine the museum’s collections and the fabric of the city, cementing Preston’s growing reputation as a centre for high quality cultural activity."
- Cllr Veronica Afrin, Cabinet Member for Culture & Leisure Services; Preston City Council

Watch a short film about the project here.