‘Mike Nelson: Extinction Beckons’, Juliette Wallace, δημοσίευση CLOT Magazine [14/2/2023]
Fifty tonnes of sand, over 5,000 metres of reclaimed wood and a building’s worth of cement. These are the ingredients needed to produce the upcoming exhibition Mike Nelson: Extinction Beckons in London this February 2023.
For just under three months, visitors of the epically Brutal and yet startlingly beautiful Hayward Gallery, a staple of the radical 1960s redesign of London’s Southbank Centre complex, will have the opportunity to enter worlds lost, proposed and threatened through the artist’s first survey exhibition. Psychologically charged and atmospheric environments will take over and transform the Hayward Gallery, pushing our minds to override pre-existing notions of our past, present and future. The big question: are we ready?
Mike Nelson is a veteran of the British art scene. Beginning in the 1990s, Nelson began operating during the time of the celebrated YBAs (Young British Artists). Although a colleague of the famed artists of the UK’s Sensation[al] movement, Nelson carved an altogether different path, steering well away from the pop, shock and capitalist world that surrounded him. His main interest is psychological: he wants to understand how to seep into his viewer’s consciousness and mess with their perception of the world around them. To do this, Nelson accesses science fiction, the relics of failed political movements, memories of our dark histories and the stuff of countercultures as references.
The fictive worlds that Nelson began creating just under three decades ago continue to be relevant today, and his pieces have been selected for various important exhibitions over recent years, including the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), the 13th Lyon Biennale (2015) and the 20th Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (2018). Now the Hayward Gallery brings together the artist’s older works with his more contemporary ones to encourage the viewer to reconsider our unstable society and the choices we have made.
He does this through immersive, interactive environments assembled from the salts and sands of our earth. Though his installations sometimes physically enclose us, their open-ended narratives beckon to a seemingly endless play of possibilities – even as they conjure bleak scenarios evocative of the fringes and margins of society, comments Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery.
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