10/06/19 - 14/06/19 | Nathaniel Mellors & Erkka Nissinen | June, Basel, CH

Ellen de Bruijne Projects and Stigter Van Doesburg, Amsterdam, are proud to present a continuing collaboration between the artists Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen at June in Basel 2019.

Mellors and Nissinen represented Finland at the 2017 Venice Biennale with the video installation The Aalto Natives. The Aalto Nativesis a humorous yet critical examination of Finnish identity that involves creativity, nerdy humour and a cast of national celebrities. The work reflects on themes such as national identity, creation myths and nationalism. It tells the story of two aliens named Geb and Atum who return to explore a place they created millions of years ago, Finland. The aliens are especially interested in the society and culture that has developed in Finland in the meantime.

In the new video sculpture “Presidential Crucifixion” the autocratic figure of the President from The Aalto Natives is literally crucified. Is this his retribution / punishment or is he staging his own victimization for political effect? Or both? “Presidential Crucifixion” is a continuation of The Aalto Natives story and part of a series of works, where many of the animated puppets in the video, take on new three-dimensional forms. The new piece is presented in dialogue with The Aalto Natives/Bad Mantra, which persiflage’s our so-called security level with a bunch of CIA-puppets.

Nathaniel Mellors (Doncaster, England 1974) looks at serious topics through a lens of bizarre fantasy. He works in various media including video, performance, text and music. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Amsterdam. Mellors studied at the Royal College of Art, London and the Ruskin School, Oxford University. In 2007-09 he was a resident at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include: "Hai paura dell’uomo nero?" Act 2, ME UOMO, Museo Burel, Belluno, IT (2019), Bad Mantras, The Box, LA (2019), Bad Mantra, Matt’s Gallery, London (2019), Progressive rocks, The New Museum, New York (2018), Kiasma Helsinki and Cobra museum Amstelveen, The Aalto Natives at the Finnish Pavilion of the 57th Venice Biennial; Prequel Dump, The Box, Los Angeles (2016); Hammer Projects, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); The Nest, Cobra Museum, Amstelveen (2011); Performa 2011, New York; Ourhouse, ICA, London; and Ourhouse, De Hallen, Haarlem (2011). He has been awarded the 2014 Contemporary Art Society Prize, and the 2011 Cobra Art Prize.

Erkka Nissinen (Jyväskylä, Finland, 1975) is known for his DIY-style videos and installations. He uses absurdist humour as a vehicle to explore topical social issues and political themes. He lives in Helsinki and New York. Nissinen studied at The Slade School of Fine Art in London and gained an MFA degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Finland. In 2007-2008, he was resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include: Bad Mantras, The Box, LA (2019), Bad Mantra, Matt’s Gallery, London (2019), Kiasma Helsinki and Cobra museum Amstelveen (2018), The Aalto Natives at the Finnish Pavilion of the 57th Venice Biennial (2017), de Hallen, Haarlem (2015), Art Parcours/Art Basel (2015), Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam (2012/2009), M+ in Hong Kong (2012), Helsinki City Art Museum’s Kluuvi Gallery (2011) and, 1646 in The Hague (2009). During the 2011 Rotterdam Art Fair Nissinen won the acclaimed Illy Prize for his video Rigid Regime. In 2013 he won the AVEK award for media arts, Helsinki.

Mellors and Nissinen met in 2007 during an artist residency in Amsterdam. The Aalto Natives was their first artistic collaboration.