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FuTurE GrEATS
Mike Nelson
by Sacha Craddock
It is not overdoing it to say that Mike Nelson has, single-handedly,
created a suggestive, poetic, experiential art. His sculptural
realism, situated halfway between invention and truth, has
consistently provided an obsessive total vision. His pieces, with
places often free to walk through, provide an inventive three-
dimensional relationship with broken narrative. Nelson has always
worked intensely; with real labour making real places. The level of
detail has been exceptional, and the attention to surface and the
use of found matter, coupled with the power of cultural
association and the broken sense of a dangerous lair, have made
him a consistently exciting artist.
AMNESIAC SHRINE or The misplacement (a futurological
fable): mirrored cubes – inverted – with the reflection of an inner
psyche as represented by a metaphorical landscape (2007),
Nelson’s long-titled piece for the Turner Prize in Liverpool last
year (Nelson was also nominated in 2001), was different. You
could not enter and walk through this one, you could only spy a
trickily simple extended vista, from the edge, the outside, of a
relatively simple structure. This view, repeated, geometrically and
evenly, four times, brings an abstract, bleak, less-real but anecdotal
idea. There will be ample opportunity this year to see his older
work. Melnais Kakis (1999) will be part of a mixed show at White
Cube. His AMNESIAC SHRINE or Double coop displacement
(2006) will be at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and To the
Memory of H.P. Lovecraft (1999) will be at the Hayward (both
from May to August).
But the pleasure of immersive fiction was already being
denied at Nelson’s last show at Matt’s Gallery, in 2006. From now
on, perhaps we can expect more diagrammatic drawn sculpture,
more spare abstract stuff. Nelson will always have the option to
be overpoweringly convincing, to use what we share to tell us
something we do not know. Perhaps the new work he makes in
Copenhagen in the summer, for instance, and for Villa Arson,
Nice, in the autumn, will be a lot more selfish, a bit less giving.
clockwise from left: The Coral Reef, 2000 (installation view,
Matt’s Gallery, London); Mirror Infill, 2006 (installation
view, Frieze Art Fair, London), commissioned by Frieze
Projects, London; AMNESIAC SHRINE or Double coop
displacement, 2006 (installation view, Matt’s Gallery,
London); A Psychic Vacuum, 2007 (installation view, Essex
Street Market, New York), commissioned by Creative Time,
New York. All works: courtesy the artist, Matt’s Gallery,
London, and Galleria Franco Noero, Turin
105 Artreview
FUTURE~1.INDD 105 11/2/08 12:46:47
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