Melee Movie Chronology
A Night of Video Works by Robert Melee
December 13, 2012, 8pm
Artists Film Club at NiteHawk Cinema
Curated by Diana Shpungin
For over two decades Robert Melee has been making work that is at once shocking, campy, hilarious, disconcerting, compelling and sympathetic. Probing the depths of suburban dysfunction and mother-son relations through his own autobiography, Melee finds beauty in the abject and the ridiculous. This certainly unconventional mother/son relationship provides the raw material for Melee’s work. Rose Melee’s eccentric, grotesque appearance and inescapable alcoholism contribute to the perverse impact, making her the attraction and sensation of his work. Mr. Melee wields the camera as an act of self-defense and revenge, but also as a means of gaining affection from both his mother and quite possibly the viewer. With his mother as his muse, he has made his films a kind of rebus about his life, proving that more than simply surviving his unusual childhood, he gained from it immense joy and certainly a sense of baroque theatricality that he is willing to reveal and share. Melee’s works are often shot on Super-8 with a “home-movie” aesthetic that seems to suggest we are watching normal family life. And in addition to casting his mother, other works include the artist’s friends, often borrowing from his mom’s costume and makeup aesthetic and applying a similarly bland and disingenuously disinterested eye to risqué scenes, blurring genders and genres as they go.
Robert Melee is a New York City based artist born in New Jersey in 1966. Melee’s extensive body of multi media work includes explorations in painting, photography, sculpture, installation and video. He studied at the School of Visual Arts, NYC and has shown in numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Solo exhibitions include: Andrew Kreps Gallery, NY; the Centre Gallery, Miami-Dade Community Collage, Miami, FL; at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; David Kordansky, Los Angeles, CA; White Cube and Sutton Lane, London: City Hall Park, NYC: Arena Mexico, Guadalajara, Mexico: and Art Statements, Art 34 Basel, Switzerland. Group exhibitions include: Greater New York, P.S.1, NYC; Adaptive Behavior, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York: Family, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, CT; Portugal Arte 10, Portugal Biennial, Lisbon Portugal; and hue and cry, Sotheby’s S/2 Gallery, NYC. Performances include Robert Melees Talent Show both in 2005, 2010 at the Kitchen, NYC; and This Is For You at Judson Church, NYC.