Nothing Happens, Twice

6 Feb 2016 – 4 Jun 2016

Event times

Mon: 11am-5pm, Tues - Sat: 10am-5pm

Cost of entry


Harris Museum & Art Gallery

Preston, United Kingdom


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Samuel Beckett /John Bock /Mel Brimfield /Broomberg & Chanarin /Pavel Buchler /Common Culture (Ian Brown, David Campbell & Mark Durden) /Steph Fletcher /Pat Flynn /Willum Geerts /Hilde Krohn Huse /Nathaniel Mellors /Sally O’Reilly /Hardeep Pandhal /Pierrick Sorin /Mladen Stilinovic /Bedwyr Williams


Nothing Happens, Twice uses the theatre of the absurd as its starting point, exploring notions of repetition, farce and tragicomedy. It includes a major new film commission by Doncaster-born, international artist Nathaniel Mellors, with whom the museum won the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award in 2014.


The exhibition includes four other new commissions by Pavel Buchler, Common Culture, Hardeep Pandhal and Sally O’Reilly, as well as film, sculpture and painting by 11 other leading contemporary artists. The exhibition title is taken from academic Vivien Mercier’s description of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, as ‘a play in which nothing happens, twice’.  


Beckett, as with many of the artists in this exhibition, deconstructs notions of time, using it as a malleable medium to orchestrate absurdist scenarios. The works highlight the absurdity of the human condition in our relationship to each other, the natural world and the metaphysical, confronting us with situations that might, in some ways, be analogous to our own.


Nathaniel Mellors new film commission, Ourhouse, Ep.-1: Time, has enabled him to create his most ambitious work to date. This absurdist drama, which is shot in various locations around Preston features an eccentric family who inhabit Preston’s iconic, brutalist bus station. It has a TARDIS-like interior, subjecting them to a series of fantastical events while finding themselves inundated by Neanderthals. The main character Charles 'Daddy' Maddox-Wilson played by Richard Bremmer, has invented a revolutionary new theory of time - but the family's subsequent attempts at time-travel see them duped, cannibalised and trapped inside a permanent present.


Nothing Happens, Twice is part of Dance First, Think Later, a 15 month contemporary art programme exploring notions of performativity and the human condition; tragicomedy and absurdity curated by Clarissa Corfe.


Nathaniel Mellors new film commission Ourhouse, Ep.-1: Time is presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2015, through the Annual Award funded by the Sfumato Foundation with the support of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, the Mondriaan Foundation and Arts Council England.  Commissioned by the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston. Produced by NOMAD and Nathaniel Mellors.



Clarissa Corfe

Exhibiting artists

Pierrick Sorin

Pierrick Sorin

Mladen Stilinović

Hilde Krohn Huse

Hardeep Pandhal

Bedwyr Williams

Mel Brimfield

Pavel Büchler

Nathaniel Mellors

Common Culture

Sally O’Reilly

Pat Flynn

Broomberg & Chanarin

Samuel Beckett

Steph Fletcher

John Bock

Willum Geerts


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