COPENHAGEN.- The internationally acknowledged English installation artist Mike Nelson occupies x-rummet with a new and hyperrealistic total installation, which is an integral part of Reality Check, this autumns major exhibition of contemporary art. Nelson, who has twice been nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize, transforms a whole floor of The Danish National Gallery into a labyrinthine and replicating series of rooms with references to a theatrical environment, complete with stage, dressing rooms, ticket office and blind alleys.
In recent years, Mike Nelson (b. 1967) has astonished the world with his great series of rooms and corridors, which are connected up into complex scenarios, both notionally and architecturally. These full-scale installations are based on intertwined references to literature, films, history and politics. However, they primarily have an enormous suggestive and material effect, not least thanks to Nelsons painstaking almost pedantic re-use of found materials and objects. The observer is drawn into a sort of three-dimensional narrative and is led through a number of fictive and constructed rooms which, it is important to note, could easily exist in a parallel world. Nelsons approach, apparently simple but actually extremely time-consuming and demanding on resources, transports a perfect piece of multifarious reality into the museum space like a sort of virus, which infects the otherwise pure and anonymous environment.
Disorientation and déjà-vu
Mike Nelsons project in x-rummet unfolds through three adjoining exhibition rooms, and leads the observer into a claustrophobic and apparently abandoned theatre-like room with a stage area, dressing rooms, etc. The central room is a sort of corridor between the two other rooms, which are reverse images, but otherwise identical right down to the smallest door-handle. This enormous installation (more than 450 m²) has the effect of both seducing and disorienting its public. Nelsons minute recreation of something real places the observer in a convincing universe where the patina and wear and tear of the materials and the objects conjure up a feeling of recent activity. Just like some real-life detective, the observer finds clues of one or more familiar narratives which he or she is slowly drawn into. At the same time, the feeling of disorientation is accentuated by the many subtle repetitions, blind alleys and mirror images, so that at the end, the observer is left with an extraordinary impression of being a lost and abandoned person in a deserted world.
A Tour de force in recycling
Over the last many months, Mike Nelson has worked intensely on this ambitious project for x-rummet, occupying more than 450 m2 as it does. Hundreds of hours have been invested in building up the work prior to the final installation; the artist has hand-picked each and every object and material from flea markets, recycling stations and tips in and around Copenhagen.
Mike Nelson was born in 1967 in Loughborough in England and educated at the University of Reading and Chelsea College of Art & Design.
He has exhibited in a large number of places all over the world, including The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, Frieze Art Fair in London, The Venice Biennial, the Biennial in Sao Paolo as well as the Biennial in Istanbul. In 2007 he was responsible for the enormous project A Psychic Vacuum, in which he transformed large parts of the former Essex Street Market in New York into a total installation. In recent years, Nelson has won a number of prizes, and in the years 2001 and 2007 was nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize.
Mike Nelsons project in x-rummet is an integral part of the Reality Check exhibition at Statens Museum for Kunst.