Dawn Mellor

November 27th 2008 – February 8th 2009
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich

In her images Dawn Mellor (born 1970 in Manchester, lives and works in London) deconstructs the interactive structure of the cult of celebrity – which appears in our culture to have been elected as a substitute for religion – by means of black humour fabricating a relationship between star and his/her believer, the fan. In so doing the artist herself frequently takes the role of an obsessed follower. Through a frequently self-chosen “painterly” role Mellor destroys the moral codes communicated through mass entertainment vouching for a deliberated immorality. Whereby in the face of the obsessive image worlds the question is also continually asked about the actual standardised taste of the observer and its verification. Mellor’s painting style is simultaneously fed by surrealism, the colourfulness of Pop Art and the intentional bad taste of a Joe Coleman. In her first institutional presentation in Switzerland the painter is to exhibit amongst other works, the 120 part portrait cycle Vile Affections (2007–2008) as well as numerous new large-scale works, drawings and a wall painting.

The delusional fan or stalker as they are also called, that can no longer leave the object of his/her desire alone, is a figure that has already taken a firm place in Mellor’s works. The starting point for her paintings is formed throughout by celebrities and stars, idols and icons of the most various fields and eras. They frequently undergo a grotesque deconstruction, the narrative of which she contextualises anew and furnishes with a new symbolism and iconography. The artist herself takes on various stalker roles and makes distinct to which of various functions the star can be assigned: as family member, lover, enemy or object of delinquent sexuality. The painting and drawing that emerges from this fictive role giving is a performative painting concept which also produces an intellectual distance between subject and object.

The exhibition was curated by Raphael Gygax.


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