Nathaniel Mellors

Alison Jacques Gallery

The ambiguous finale of the ’60s cult British TV series The Prisoner finds leading man Patrick McGoohan’s character, Number Six, apparently freed from the mysterious allegorical village he’s been trapped in and returning to his former metropolitan life. In Nathaniel Mellors’s 16-mm film (transferred to DVD) MACGOOHANSOC, 2005, a steely young Englishwoman claims to be “the body of Patrick McGoohan”: Not his spirit, not the fictional spirit of Number Six, but the physical form of the actor (who is still alive). Such compound perplexity is typical of Mellors’s gravitation toward points at which prior distinctions collapse—and typical as well of the way he re-presents said confusion as a pseudo-authoritarian tactic. Here, “McGoohan” and two chorusing, intermittently bored henchpersons, all in Prisoner-style uniforms, perform a totalitarian rant, addressed to the “spastics” who will comprise

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 2006 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.