Paul Mellender (kourete) Profile
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Biography: Paul Mellender
Paul Mellender was born in 1971. This is the last certain fact that can be relayed regarding this peculiar individual. From this meager piece of information we immediately step into conjecture, deceptions, and misconception. He was born in Fallon Nevada, but apparently his parents were not living in Fallon, at the time of his birth. Some accounts offer he was born with a full set of teeth, others that all the clocks stopped working in the hospital at the moment of his birth. These types of mythic births with the "strong boy" are mentioned all over the world. It is troubling they are mentioned in the Modern era, around a living figure.
Paul Mellender does not appear in any written records again until he is three years old, in Los Angeles. It is at this time hospital records show he was treated for a drug overdose, stelazine, from which he almost died. Some accounts suggest he did die. Regarding this story two versions exist. The first goes: when the true Paul Mellender died another child was exchanged in his place. The Second goes: Paul Mellender died, but was resuscitated, where upon he immediately showed signs of unusual behavior.
Whatever the real story, Mr. Mellender offers this as coincident with his interest in art, though in interviews he insists, there was no mystical experience, and points out his mother, Helen Mellender, is also an artist and was drawing by age three, without the benefit of a mythic death and resurrection.
Little information follows from any source until Mr. Mellender was in his early twenties. It was at this point he published his, obscure but influential, work on the Runes. Notably, he is credited with correcting the usual translation in the Icelandic rune poem of letter "Ur" as "drizzle" with "yr" or "yrsa" wolf. Aside from this orthodox correction his further explanations of the runes and rune poems, especially, have left many scholars puzzled and skeptical.
Likewise it is here that some confusion arises in identity. Mr. Mellender is linked with a character called "Henry Told". This name appears in documents going back as far as 1790. He appeared in a brief letter regarding a Thomas Wainwright who shortly after his marriage, is warned out of Gloucester by the towns Selectmen. By 1812, and the loss of Thomas Wainwright from historical record, 7 Henry Tolds were working concurrently in Europe and America. The use of the name seems to have failed by the 1940's that is until the reappearance in association with Mr. Mellender and several of his "riddle paintings". Speculation regarding this apparent pseudonym has included the notion, Henry Told is not a proper name, but a title, and is taken by initiates. Another is that it has similarities to the Luther Blissett project.
Regarding his art Mr Mellender often claims that the pieces are riddles, mysteries, and other odd projects. He freely drops references to the Holy Grail, The Ark of the Covenant, and apparently a favorite topic, the word "kur".
Mr. Mellender's behavior through his twenties and into his thirties has been markedly unusual. For much of this time he seems to have worked to undermine, and otherwise dismantle ideas around art and other cultural activities, which would, for an artist, seem self defeating.
At the present Mr. Mellender is, as usual, very difficult to pin down, and it is very difficult to pry from him what he is doing, or what his motives may be.