Throughout Melee’s work is a flirtation between reality and fantasy: family photographs look like film stills, scenarios appear scripted, and people seem as grotesque caricatures playing out clichéd roles. Using life-as-stage, Melee’s work expounds relational dysfunction, drawing the viewer as hostage-voyeur into the entangled drama. With positions firmly drawn, each party plays up to expectation, identity is validated and aggrandised through co-dependence, and all are drawn into the tragic-comic pantomime. In Smoking, random snapshots of the artist and his mother sucking fags are framed as out-takes of a life; glamourised and forgotten footage from a sad, camp movie lovingly dredged from the archive, begging for one last applause.

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