Mike Nelson


Mike Nelson

Work from More things (To the memory of Honoré de Balzac) at Matt’s Gallery.

“For his fourth show at the gallery Mike Nelson has chosen to eradicate the constructed architecture that has formed the prevailing structures of his previous three Matt’s Gallery commissions: Trading Station Alpha CMa in 1996, The Coral Reef in 2000 and AMNESIAC SHRINE or Double coop displacement in 2006.

Nelson returns to the right hand space where he constructed his first two works for the gallery, and has elected to replace those architectural constructs, that were built to hold and direct their audience, with sculptural entities.  Gone are the spatial divides that existed in varying forms before, presenting us instead with an exhibition of objects, constructed on site with the most rudimentary materials.

Each element of the work is an invocation of time spent, a votive effigy of sorts, built up to emanate a sense of ‘being’, soaked in the material from which it is formed.  To all intents and purposes it is a sculptural experiment in presence as opposed to absence: the space around as opposed to that within.  In this way the viewer is placed outside of the work and forced to look in, the phenomenology of experience and discovery receding to the point of non-existence; these works only exist in isolation.

Their frame of reference is also curtailed, gone are the elaborate meta-narratives. All that is left is the space, the material, the maker and their respective histories imbued with the desire to make something with an intensity that can conjure a sense of what has been, out of the very material that spans that time.  The old English term ‘poppet’, which would later become ‘puppet’, refers to folk dolls constructed to be imbued with sympathetic magic; what Nelson proposes here is more of an empathetic magic, one that could be seen to mimic that of the class b1 androids in Philip K Dick’s ‘Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep’.

Here Nelson concentrates on sculptural aspects, turning inside out his perceived practice – a reversal that ultimately only accentuates the imbued rituals of previous works.” –Matt’s Gallery


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